View Full Version : Friendship Groups at pre-school

11-11-2011, 10:28 AM

Can I just get your views on something. Would you expect a just turned 4yr old who attends pre-school 5 mornings a week to have 1 or more "special" friends or is it normal / usual perhaps, for a child to not have made any real friends as such. This child is perfectly happy there and will always busy herself with what she wants to be doing with whoever else is doing it but there is no-one she is especially friends with. She will move up to reception next Sept. Do you think it important at this stage that she has a friendship group that she will move up with? She has been in pre-school since Jan.


11-11-2011, 11:02 AM
No I don't think there is anything wrong or strange in a child not having 'special' friends...

Some children zoom in a bestie, some don't.
James was recently devasted when his bestie moved away - he misses him awfully

11-11-2011, 11:11 AM
In my experience, children at that age don't seem to have or need a particular friend. It's all very clear to them - they like some people & don't like others. If they like them, they'll play together if they happen to be doing the same thing. If they don't like them, they'll still play with them - it's the game that's important, not the people playing it!

You do sometimes see early friendships emerging, but often that is among children who know each other outside nursery. They seem to be best friends, but it's more that they're familiar friends.

11-11-2011, 11:20 AM
Thank you both, that's put my mind at rest. The child in question is my DD. She has a lot of problems, she has a syndrome which causes visual and auditory impairment and along with that S&L difficulties so I am perhaps a bit extra emotional where she's concerned. She was showing signs the last couple of weeks of not wanting to go to nursery but when I ask her about nursery she says she likes it so I'm thinking it's just that she would rather stay at home with me and the LO's I mind. I spoke to her teacher yesterday and this was pointed out to me about the friendship groups and got me thinking whether she "should" have made a special friend yet. My DS was always very popular at nursery and had special friends so I wasn't sure if that was the norm. I'd hate to think of her being lonely :(


11-11-2011, 01:03 PM
In my experience I have found boys especially tend to have friends for different occasions - a group to play football with, a friend to sit next to when eating, someone they look out for who is fun to build dens with....

Girls on the other hand can either be very self sufficient or skip around holding hands then falling out then making up again.

As long as nothing has changed and there are no issues with bullying etc then I would say it's fine to let your dd carry on being independent.

However you could also maybe plan to organise little tea parties for a potential friend or 2 before the end of the year so she has children she is more familiar with ready for starting school :D

11-11-2011, 01:22 PM
My DD had no particular friends at pre-school, did things with or without people and has gone onto reception this year and the teacher says there isn't any particular person she is particularly friends with. She is very happy and settled and I don't see it as a problem - my older two were also like this and they have gone on to have friends (one more than the other) so I wouldn't worry x

11-11-2011, 01:54 PM
Thankyou all. That's put my mind at rest quite a bit :thumbsup:
She's a very independent child so as long as she's happy I can relax a bit now I guess. I'll give it some more time and maybe see if the situation is any different towards easter time next year and then possibly think about inviting any children she is particularly talking about round for a playdate.


11-11-2011, 09:52 PM
My dd is 6, has always been sociable but has not got "best" friends at school. She still loves a girl I used to nanny for - they had a unique realtionship because I worked their 55 hours a week and took dd with me from when she was 4 months to 3 years so understandable. She has a small of class of 20, mainly girls and plays with most of them. I ask her which friend she would like to have for tea next and she has about 8 names that come up. Within this group you can clearly see pairs apart from my dd who likes them all equally. Sometimes I feel sad for her as I had a "bestie" at this age however I also remember feeling totally lost when she was off ill etc and so think it's lovely that she is happy to play with many and they all seem to like her too. I wouldn't worry about how close she is to them as such, just that she enjoys spending time with others, invite them to yours with the parent so you can see how she interacts and can encourage her relationships. I can understand why you feel like you do but I don't think you need to worry :)

11-11-2011, 10:09 PM
My oldest is 6 and she is another one who seems to drift in and out of friendship groups. She is really popular amongst everyone but isn't really attached to any one person or any one group for long, likes everyone equally regardless of gender and is equally happy to play on her own or within a group. One girl tried to be her best friend but my daughter s diplomatically as a 6 yr old could removed herself from that friendship as she felt suffocated - she is still friends with the girl - but is more aloof when the girl tries to monopolise her time.

My youngest is at preschool a couple of days a week and stays with me as acrreddited CM on the rest of the days. She is close to one child - who I also care for on the days she is at home, who I have cared for for 2 1/2 yrs so they have grown up together. They play together becaue they are familiar with each other - but my youngest is gregarious and happy to play on her own or with others if its an activity she wants to do. Equally though there are many times she says she doesn't want to go to preschool - because I guess at home sh does have everything she needs and i'm there, when she is home her opinion quickly changes and she is happy to be there.

Kids are funny - but no I don't think its unusual at all. I don't think many kids build those bonds until Year 1 - Year 2 - you might see emergence or preferences slighty earlier but I don't think they are secure until they are a bit older.

12-11-2011, 11:40 AM
Thank you for all your reassurances :thumbsup:
My DD is always saying that X child is her best friend and then the next day she says a different x child is her best friend so it's always changing. There is another little girl at nursery although not in her group and we sometimes see her and her mum walking up to school in the afternoon. My DD and this other little girl will run off up the road together holding hands and it looks so sweet :) . She's obviously not unhappy so I shouldn't worry so much. She loves all the children I mind whether younger or older and always remembers the past mindees as well and tells me they are all her best friend :)


12-11-2011, 12:55 PM
When I was teaching it would sometimes appear that a couple of children were best friends as they did everything together, but often after observing them I realised that one of the pair was a 'follower'. If your daughter is happy and independent then that might be preferable to having a friend who they depend on socially. I wouldn't worry about it at her age. x

12-11-2011, 09:48 PM
My sons reception teacher said last year, it is much healthier for a child to have lots of friends rather than one best friend.