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How impt is it for dd to know other children before starting at primary?

(28 Posts)
Travellerintime Thu 28-May-09 17:22:36

dd (4.7) will start school in Aug. We moved house end last year, but kept her in her old nursery for continuity. As her old nursery is not that near where we live there is only one other girl from her nursery going to the school. This girl is a good friend of my dd, but it turns out that they're not going to be in the same primary class.

I thought I had accepted the fact that dd wouldn't know anyone at school and kept telling myself that she'll be fine. But now I know there IS someone there but they're in a different class, I keep worrying about it.

Here are my questions:
Should I phone school and ask them to consider putting dd in this girl's class? i don't want to seem a pushy parent - I've already been on the phone a few times because of late placing decisions - feel they'll start to sigh if they hear me on the phone again.

Or does it really matter? If dc DON'T know anyone, is it an issue? Is dd still likely to settle ok? She is quite quiet in large groups, but conversely has pretty sociable impulses.

Help! I feel I'm getting pretty wound up about it all.

bigchris Thu 28-May-09 17:24:19

my ds only knew a couple of girls in his class
he soon made friends with the other boys
I really wouldnt worry

mrsflowerpot Thu 28-May-09 17:27:22

DS knew nobody at all as we moved house just before he started. I was worried, but I needn't have been - he settled really quickly. Friends change really fast in that reception year, too.

ThingOne Thu 28-May-09 17:29:40

Do you have any settling in sessions? Grab some of the other parents and arrange some play dates.

BonsoirAnna Thu 28-May-09 17:30:27

Don't worry. At that age friends come and go quickly.

Travellerintime Thu 28-May-09 17:36:09

Lots of nice reassuring messages here. Thank you. Will try to relax.

ThingOne - we're going to a parent's evening next week, and there are inductions later on in June so will try then. I have tried to meet local parents - and have succeeded with regard to ds - he's 17 months and we now know tons of other babies a similar age, but haven't managed it for dd.

pointydog Thu 28-May-09 17:38:19

dd1 oinly knew a couple of boys in her class and didn't like them. It was absolutely fine. They're so young it doesn't matter.

gegs73 Thu 28-May-09 17:47:22

I was really worried about DS1 before he started Reception as he only knew one boy from pre-school who he had not been that friendly with, and hadn't attented the Nursery attached to the school. However he did settle in well after a couple of months, but was in the same class as the boy he knew which definately helped both of them.

If you are worried it might be worth speaking to the Mum of the girl your DD knows and agreeing to contact school together to see if they can be put in the same class. I did this before DS1 started reception and they were happy to do it.

PortAndLemon Thu 28-May-09 18:03:56

It really won't matter. And, in fact, it may be a bonus having her friend in the other class -- it may prove to be a route to getting to know some of the other children in that class as well as her own classmates.

MollieO Thu 28-May-09 18:49:14

Ds knew no one in his class. Half of his class had been at nursery together but it has made next to no difference. Ime they seem to change their friends throughout the year anyway smile

MrsMcCluskey Thu 28-May-09 18:51:36

DS2 knew no one when he started school, and nearly all of his class had gone through nursery togethr.
He made friends very quickly and at the risk of bragging he is one of the most popular boys in his year group.
She will be fine!

Travellerintime Thu 28-May-09 21:17:48

thanks. Have pretty much decided that I'll just leave it, and accept that dd will be fine.
There is also a possibility that dd's friend won't end up going to this school, as she has applied elsewhere, so I've decided it really isn't worth making a fuss.
Thank you all for the positivity!

slummymummy36 Fri 29-May-09 11:44:18

Its a worrying time and big step when they start school (i cried on the 1st day LOL). But tbh - there could well be a few children in the class that won't all have gone to the same pre school or nursery.

All the kids are new on that 1st day. Its a new strange environment to them all. I would treat it as one big new exciting adventure to your DC and not worry to much about it.

We moved at the end of July the year my eldest started primary in the September. She knew no one and was fine. 2 years later with my youngest she started school late as we moved something like 15th September and I didnt want tot start her at one school for a week and half only to move her. So she joined a new school and knew no one almost 2 weeks into the school term. Again it was fine. I had my sleepless nights etc but it was all for nothing in the end.

Good luck. Try and enjoy your summer and not spend it worrying too much.

Niecie Fri 29-May-09 11:52:20

I agree, don't worry. They do change friends every week at that age so even if she was with her friend from nursery she probably would have found new people to play with very quickly.

Plus, if it is anything like my DS's school (he is currently in Yr R) they spend a lot of time with other classes anyway and even have some work groups split across classes. And they will meet up at play times.

The teachers in DS's school don't let them out at play time to do their own thing in the first few weeks - they do help them all mix together by playing group games with them so that helps too.

I should also say that DS2 is very quiet as well (until he gets to know you) and was fine.

DS1 knew nobody because we moved and he was fine too.

DadAtLarge Fri 29-May-09 12:59:03

FWIW, my shy, quiet DS started reception without knowing anyone in the class. It was very sad when we dropped into the school on some PTA work and saw him walking all alone in the playground while all the other kids had friends they were playing with. Apparently he did that every day.

He survived and made friends. A few play dates helped too. He's in Yr2 now and very happy in school.

Teachers can help with getting them to make friends... and usually do.

Travellerintime Fri 29-May-09 14:47:32

Niecie and Dadatlarge, that's something else I wanted to ask about - do teachers get involved in helping dc to make friends? sad for your ds, Dadatlarge - what I'm hoping won't happen.

I was wondering whether to have a word with teacher to let her know dd won't know anyone just to make sure teacher can keep an eye on it - is the sort of thing teachers will do?

Also, any other strategies for me to facilitate dd getting to know other children?


Niecie Fri 29-May-09 16:17:39

The teachers should help the children settle in. Does your school do introductory sessions before the start of the school year? They help to get to know the school environment and are a chance for you to help your DD to meet other children as well.

Other than that you can mention to the teachers that your DD doesn't know anybody and they should be prepared to help. As I say, the teachers went out with the children in Yr R, at play time, for their first few weeks and organised games for them to play together so nobody was left out. They seem to withdraw when the children started settling into groups. They also can also make sure that the children are always paired off at other times. It really helps in the beginning but they often don't need that sort of support for long.

It is also what the TA spend a lot of time doing on the DSs' schools - making sure everybody has somebody to play with, and later on, helping with negotiating the peace talks when there has been a fall out!!smile

It is a shame Dadatlarge's DS didn't get some help though.sad Surely it is in the best interests of everybody if the children are happy to come to school and feel settled!

Smithagain Fri 29-May-09 18:51:35

The teachers at DD's school have some good strategies for helping children make friends. And they get the older children involved, so Yr 2 children help to look out for children who are lonely in the playground. Plus they have a "friendship stop", where a child can hang around if they have no-one to play with and the other children know to invite them to join in.

It seems to work.

DadAtLarge Fri 29-May-09 19:05:16

Niecie, I have no complaints about how the school handled it, they were brilliant. But these things take time. And, yes, the teachers do get actively involved.

Travellerintime, at that age children are less fussed about not having friends. You probably worry about it more than they do ;)

Other things you can do:
- Have a birthday party if you can and invite everyone in the class. (You'll get a full phone list of parents if nothing else!)
- Accept every party and stay with your DD for the first few.
- Invite other children over to your house to play.
- Buy/make little b/day presents for other children even if they don't have a party. Particularly if they don't have a party!
- Make friends with the parents, organise a mum's night out, there's nothing like getting them on side.

Niecie Fri 29-May-09 20:38:49

Fair enough Dadatlarge. smile

It is just that it sounded like he had been left alone in the playground and nobody did anything until you saw him.

If he was happy to be alone that is another matter entirely.

My DS1 is perfectly happy alone too although I do give him a gentle reminder to play with the other children if I find out he has been alone for more than a couple of days.

However, I do accept that it is probably more my problem than his! I don't know why I worry - I like my own company too!

clemette Fri 29-May-09 20:47:02

Thanks for this thread - it had reassured me as well! DD is due to start reception next January and will know nobody as her nursery is in another suburb. I spoke to the school and they said there will be ten children starting in January that don't go to the preschool or school nursery.

I feel sad that she will leave the children she has spent so much time with (she started nursery at 5 months) and am anxious about her starting school generally, but this thread has helped a little. Thank you x

Plonker Fri 29-May-09 23:40:10

Dd1 did her reception yr at a different school, she knew no-one when she started her 'new' school. Absolutely no problems at all despite her being a quiet and shy little thing.

Dd2 started reception only vaguely knowing one child ...again, no problems.

They're young and very adaptable, please don't worry smile

QS Fri 29-May-09 23:46:25

My son might be the odd one out then. When he started reception it was outside our own parish, and it turned out that 90% of the other children had fed in from the same preschool, the other 10% had belonged to the same Church as the rest, so 99% of the children knew eachother beforehand from preschool and Church. 1 1/2 years in my son still hadnt settled and made friends, still felt the odd one out, despite me arranging playdates and days out, he was still lonely at breaktime and could not find his place. We have since moved, but he has not any happy memories from that school at all.

flintski Sat 30-May-09 16:50:26

thanks everyone - this is a really reassuring thread (although i'm very sad for your son QS and hope that he is happy in his new school)- we are also moving in the summer just as DD is due to start reception and I was tearing myself apart with guilt as she has some excellent little friends who are going to the school she would have gone to had we not been relocating. Its good to know that they are hardy little things who on the whole settle right in and make new friends.


halia Mon 01-Jun-09 20:38:45

well its reassuring me too, we moved at easter and the preschool DS is going to isn't at the school he will be attending. His primary doesn't have its own preschool sad I've been worrying my socks off about whether he will make friends and whether we've made the right choice.

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