September 29, 2021 | Emily Ford Sytsma
The laughter filling our classroom and the games being created during playtime this week are pointing to the blossoming skills in relationship-building. As they connect with each other, students begin to develop a sense of belonging.
Developing friendships at school is an important goal we have for all students. In these early days, younger preschool students are learning to have fun together with the help of an adult. They have common experiences and teachers help them learn the language they need for sharing materials (“May I have a turn?” “When you are finished, I would like it next.”).
Older preschool children are actively seeking out playmates. They have experience with cooperative play and most prefer to work and play with someone, rather than working and playing alone.
Most preschoolers, even those with siblings and those who have been in social play settings regularly already, have only a few months experience with cooperative play and they are novices, particularly in these times when many of us have limited our social engagements with others.
We work with children closely to help guide them as they navigate social experiences throughout their day with their peers. How do you invite someone to play with you? What can you do when something doesn’t go your way? What can you say if you feel frustrated? How can you let a friend know that you like (or don’t like) something that is happening? We address these and many other situations.
We hope your child is beginning to feel like they have playmates to enjoy at school. Check out our weekly blog posts for stories and pictures capturing these blossoming friendships!