Before Addy started JK, I was worried not only about Addy’s academic abilities, but also her social skills. After three years at home with either me or my mother during the day, and with Peyton and my 28-year-old sister as her only consistent playmates, would Addy know how to talk to other tots her own age? Would she be too shy to make friends? Would her sweet and quiet personality make her a target for bullies? Or would all of the attention she’s always received from us and our families turn her into a brat and a mean girl when she didn’t get her way in the classroom? I had no idea.
On Friday (she usually doesn’t go to school on Fridays, but had class last week) when I picked her up, she said she wanted to tell me something that I “probably wouldn’t like to hear.”
“X wouldn’t let Y play with us today,” she said quietly.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“We were playing a game together and Y wanted to play and X said, ‘No, you can’t play with us.'”
“Oh. What did you say?”
I looked in my rearview mirror and saw her staring back at me. I was hesitant to say anything until I found out what she did and/or didn’t say. While I don’t expect a four-year-old to intervene the way a teacher or parent would, and explain to X that not letting Y play is rude and mean, I was hoping that she’d tell me she disagreed with X and acted as a little go-between with the girls so they could all play nicely together. (I was the queen of “Can’t we all just get along?” in elementary school.)
“I said we should all play together and told Y to play too, but X said no, so she didn’t play.”
She said this was the first time it had happened. She also said that when school first started “when I was three and not four,” her class went for a nature walk around the school (this was the first I heard of the walk) and X grabbed the leaves Addy had collected right out of her hand.
I told Addy that I was proud of her for wanting to include Y, and that she was a good girl for knowing that everyone should play nicely together. She also said she’d be sad if X told her she couldn’t play, and she didn’t want Y to be sad. Anyway, according to Addy, Y ended up playing with someone else, and she and X kept playing.
Maybe I have a selective memory, or maybe kindergarteners were different 28 years ago when I started school. Isn’t four too young to be a mean girl? I remember kids being nasty to each other in grade three. But junior kindergarten? Oy.
Have you encountered this with your little ones yet? How would you have handled the situation?