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Could any foundation stage teachers please explain the policy on splitting up friends when moving to reception from nursery?

(17 Posts)
Lakota Thu 22-Oct-09 20:12:23

That's it really.

I just don't understand why children who of their own volition have become friends are purposefully put into different classes when they move up. I mean, ok, they want them to make other friends as well, but surely there are ways of encouraging that - teacher choosing working pairs etc. If they make new close friends in the new class, that's deemed acceptable, but the original friendships aren't valued?

Can anyone explain?

CarGirl Thu 22-Oct-09 20:14:12

it could be that the friendship doesn't bring out the best in each other?

One set of parents could have requested they not be together?

One could be very exclusive about the friendship and be preventing the other child from making additional friendships?

Not a teacher btw

FionaJT Thu 22-Oct-09 20:20:36

I'm not a teacher, but my dd has gone into reception with another girl from her nursery and the two of them are sticking together like glue, egging each other on to naughtiness and generally playing up. The class teacher is having to seperate them at all opportunities, and both I and the other girl's mother are trying to persude them to play more with other children too. We are all agreed that it seems to stem from fear of the unknown/insecurity about making new friends, and I think they would be much better off seperated!
Not saying this goes for all children, but after the last few weeks I can certainly see the logic!

bigchris Thu 22-Oct-09 20:23:11

my ds was split from his best friend
it was because whilst my ds played with lits of other kids his best friend was quite clingy with him and the teacher wanted him to socialise with others more

cat64 Thu 22-Oct-09 20:30:15

Message withdrawn

JustChancesAndChoices Thu 22-Oct-09 20:38:37

it might be accidental like cat64 has said as both classes need to be equally balanced academically & socially.

Or the friendship may have a negative effect on either child's learning (again academically or socially).

Strong friendship groups/pairings are not usually seperated without reason or deliberation.

Lakota Thu 22-Oct-09 20:42:06

Not the first or the second definitely, think it may be third from teachers point of view - however I would dispute that.

Background is that my DS and another little boy became friends at nursery. Both bright, cheerful, but not especially boisterous. Both also had other friends, my DS especially a little girl he'd known since babyhood. DS always happy to entertain himself or play with others if close friends off school for any reason. Both boys need a little encouragement with 'scary' things - physical activities in particular. Both better in small groups than large ones. DS very bright (excellent reader pre nursery) and friend also seems well focused, able to concentrate, obey rules etc

DS didn't get our first choice reception place (school attached to said nursery) and has just done half a term at another primary. None of the children he knew went there, and all of his close friends stayed at original school. We got offered a place at original school on Wednesday (so last minute before half term).

He's been getting on ok at the new school, although there was an incident where a Y1 boy was punching him and the little girl he'd made friends with at lunchtimes. New school also larger, and a bit less friendly feeling. Some slightly scary mums (staffie into the playground etc.) DS has been uncomplaining about having to go to new school and leave all friends behind, amazing me with his adaptability. However, on hearing there was a chance he could go back to school 1, he burst into tears and said he really really wanted to see his old friends.

To get to the point, there is a space free in each class. The Foundation Stage co-ordinator refuses to put him in the class that contains his closest friends. If he'd got a place in reception at this school straight away I would have accepted this - I do understand that they can't accommodate every parents' wish and every friendship group. BUT he's been away for half a term - had a lot of upheaval and it would hurt no-one - I can't help thinking she's being mean. Additionally, although his friend was initially doing ok in reception, in recent weeks he's been less keen to go to school, cried this morning (I heard from his mum) and his class teacher had raised with his mum the fact that he often plays alone. Surely it would help this sad little boy too, if his friend came back? She has this power (and no children herself).

Just to be clear, I have made these points to her, but there was no shouting the odds, and I have told her I reluctantly accept her decision. I don't want to be the returning parent who makes a nuisance of myself, and she already raised an eyebrow when I showed her DS's reading book from school 2 to give her an idea of his level. She helpfully remarked that they didn't have any books in the class that were that text heavy (er, borrow from another class?)

Sorry for length, and slow typing.

Lakota Thu 22-Oct-09 20:47:03

Sorry, my first para refers to CarGirl's post - slow typist as I said.

Thanks for your responses...just seems that classes decided now, had half a term to gel, and one more child won't make a negative impact, but could be positive. I know they'll still mix in the playground, just feel she is now sticking to her guns because she feels she can't back down once her decision has been made, for fear of setting some kind of precedent, rather than there being any real objection I could understand. Hey ho.

happywomble Thu 22-Oct-09 20:56:53

If the school your DS is going to is like ours the children will be wandering between the classes anyway. They are allowed to play in the other reception class some of the time.

In your position I would focus on the relief of getting a place at your first choice school in the end. Then think about the teacher..are you happy with the teacher your DS will have. If you have confidence in him/her then your DS will probably be fine. He will make new friends in his class and look forward to seeing his old nursery friend at playtime. You can still arrange playdates with the other boy.

Try to relax about the teachers choosing who is going in which class. At most schools the classes are mixed up at a couple of points (after reception, in KS2) and on the whole it is beneficial for the children as their social circle is increased and it gives the school a chance to split up children who don't get on.

CarGirl Thu 22-Oct-09 21:03:51

Just go with the flow for now, they will possibly mix the classes in the future if there is a need to.

Lakota Thu 22-Oct-09 21:07:51

Apparently the classes now stay the same throughout the school. I know nothing about either reception teacher, as one is new and the other just helped the FSC conduct a tour of the class sometime last year. As he didn't get a place until late we've been a bit out of the loop.

I am pleased that he got into the school, honestly! Am annoyed that I am annoyed by this, just got myself wound up, because it seems like such a small thing to me. I want to understand, really I do! But it's half way through the term, he will have to be the new boy again, and he could be put in a class where he feels comfortable. There is the option, that's what annoys me. He's 4 for goodness sake, and has made some good friends he's already left behind once. Just being mother bear I suppose.

CarGirl Thu 22-Oct-09 21:15:57

Just because it's standard policy to leave the classes the same throughout it doesn't mean that they won't change things if they have to.

I'm sure your ds and his friend will find each other at playtimes! Plus playdates etc

It's always hard isn't it!

norfolklass Fri 23-Oct-09 12:33:45

I totally understand your reasons for wanting them to be in the same class together and Im sure in the same situation I would be exactly the same however I think you can also see some postives from it and work with your DS and the teacher to ensure your DS has a great start at the new school.

He sounds like he is a lovely little boy who is able to adapt easily to different surroundings-my DS has also started reception in september and I know that he wouldn't cope with changing schools at all. I would say that if he able to make friends in the new class like he did in his original school then he will have the added bonus of having new friends in 1 class and his other older friend in the other class-that can only be a good thing.

My DS started reception with a little girl who he went to nursery with...he knew her and had played with her a bit but not exactly best friends. They are in the same class and tbh it has been an absolute nightmare. She is wanting to play with him and him alone and won't let him play with other children or play with others herself so every day is a battle. Ive spoken to the teacher and TA who are all aware of it and are trying to split them up at every opportunity. Yes it was nice for them to be together at the start but knowing both of their personalities I know they would have both made friends separately if they'd been in different classes but would have stayed friends anyway. The way it is at the moment my DS wants nothing to do with the other little girl and is actually being quite nasty to her (which I have told him off for quite severely) but as he says she is literally attached to him from the moment they get into the playground in the morning to when they leave at night and he just can't take it anymore.

Bit of a rambling message Im afraid but just wanted to say that even when friends are put together it doesn't always work and can quite easily cause problems.

Lakota Fri 23-Oct-09 13:49:38

Thank you Norfolklass, yes he is lovely and I guess he's more adaptable than I give him credit for so I'm sure he'll be fine, just feel it could be even better. I'm hoping that the other little boys in his new class will 'let him in' I guess...just sad that he's new again. Hope the situation with your son gets easier...can see how that would be tricky.

MrsJoslyn Sat 24-Oct-09 09:16:30

Message withdrawn

madamearcati Sat 24-Oct-09 14:02:39

I think your post answers your own question.
Both little boys are struggling a bit socially and having trouble making new friends.That is clearly what they need practice at.To put him back with his old friend would just mean that they don't need to make that effort.
They will see each other at playtime ,so he will have one set of friends for playtime and another for classroom.

MrsJoslyn Sun 25-Oct-09 07:37:44

From a teacher’s point of view:

There can be a number of reasons why I have split children up when moving classes. The children may be amazing friends but educationally they may be a bad influence on each other. They may be too distracting for each other; one may dominate the other compromising the second childs learning. They may hinder each other socially so separation allows for social development.

Lastly it can just come down to the fact that you have a group of children who you need to split into two and logistically it is just not possible to maintain all friendship groups. However in reception
friendships are always taken into consideration because the children are so little and positive friendships will help to boost their confidence in a new and unfamiliar setting.

In my experience though when children are exposed to other kids it helps them to develop their social skills and most children make new friends very easily although it can seem scary first of all.

Hope this gives you an insight,


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