My daughter started school in September last year. We were naturally worried about her transition from full time nursery care to big school. I wasn’t ready for her not to be in the care of her nursery school teacher, who had looked after her from 8am to 6pm Mondays to Fridays for the past two years.
When we dropped her off on her first day, she cried, holding on to my arm, begging me not to leave. I cried. I couldn’t bear to see her upset. But I asked for her teacher’s help who pried her away from me. My heart broke.
It’s now been six months and she’s used to her new routine. I am amazed by how far she’s progressed in terms of reading, which is testament to her teachers’ efforts.
Unfortunately, she’s still struggling to find her tribe in class. According to her, all the other children have paired up and no one seems to want to play with her. ‘It’s as if I’m always by myself’, she confided in me.
My husband and I sat her down. I said that before she can be comfortable in the company of others, she needs to be comfortable in her own company. Perhaps it is an opportunity for her to set her own boundaries on what she likes/dislikes before being dictated by group-think. She’s five by the way, and I’m not sure how much she took in but the forlorn look never left her that evening.
The next day, when I asked about her day, she told us that one of the girls she tries to play with – a sort of a gang leader – had told my daughter that another girl was no longer part of their gang. Now my daughter decided to relay this message to the girl herself – who was heartbroken at being excluded from said gang. When we asked my daughter what had propelled her to do so, she refused to look us in the eye. I gently asked if she did so to feel accepted by the gang. ‘Yes, and I felt very bad for Hannah’, was her response. She agreed to apologise to Hannah. I was disappointed to say the least but understood that she was merely surviving in a lonely existence in school. When an opportunity presented itself for her to feel part of a group, she jumped at it.
Just gone five and already ganging up against others. I hope she comes into her own in time and makes good, meaningful friendships. No gangs, no exclusions.