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How To Help Your Child Make Friends In Preschool

How To Help Your Child Make Friends In Preschool

Is your child beginning preschool this fall? What an exciting time! This is an opportunity for your child to begin exploring the world in a totally new environment. If all goes well, they will discover a love of learning, master new skills, and forge amazing friendships. But what happens if your child is not interacting with the other students and making friends? Maybe your child is shy and hesitant to play with other children. Maybe they haven’t figured out how to be a good friend. For some children, social confidence does not come easily. Connecting with other kids and finding their own unique role within the classroom community is critical for learning and personal success. And when your child is struggling with this aspect of preschool, it can be heartbreaking. Here are some things you can do to help your child engage with fellow students and make friends in their preschool classroom.

To learn more about the tuition and fees for the Grey Matter Montessori preschool program, click here.

Finding Friendship In A Preschool Classroom

As parents, it can be hard to find a balance between helping our kids accomplish certain tasks (just doing it for them), and giving them the space to navigate tricky situations (letting them build important skills and confidence). Building friendships can be one of these grey areas. Forming friendships requires emotional skills, social competence, and self-regulation. All kids develop these competencies at different rates. Your role as a parent is to recognize when your child is struggling, talk to them and help them find the language they need to express their feelings, and guide them to develop the skills needed to overcome any obstacles. Here are some useful tips to help your child build the confidence and aptitude to find friendships among their peers.

Talk To Your Child
This is the most important first step. Ask your child about the other kids in the classroom. Who did you eat snack with? Did you play with anyone today? If your child expresses that they have no friends, or no one seems to like them, dig a little deeper. Why do you think Alex did not want to build blocks with you? Why were you afraid to ask Jenny to colour? These questions can give you some insight into your child’s perception of their social interactions and help you determine if shyness and a lack of confidence are the key factors, or if your child needs help learning to be a good friend.

Model Positive Practices
Take every opportunity to model positive social behaviours for your child. Let your child see you engage in friendly conversation with a neighbour or with the barista at the coffee shop. Together, introduce yourself to other parents and kids at the park and suggest an impromptu game of tag. You can even role play with your child and practice introducing yourself and asking questions that can lead to further engagement. It can look something like this: “Hi, I’m Maddy. I like your ball. Do you want to practice passing?”

Participate In Extracurricular Activities
There are many benefits to engaging your child with extracurricular activities. When your child has the opportunity to participate in an activity they love, they also have the opportunity to connect with other children who share their interests. Sometimes this can make forging friendships a little easier. And every connection your child makes, every friendship they are successful at creating, will help them build the confidence they need to try to connect with other kids everywhere; at the park, in the community, and in the preschool classroom.

Set Up Playdates
Sometimes, simply setting up a playdate with a classmate outside of preschool classroom hours is all it takes to give your child a friendship boost. This can be particularly helpful if your child finds it harder to navigate social situations within larger groups. Start with a one-on-one playdate, maybe at your home (your child’s comfort zone). A friendship that begins at home is easier to maintain once back in the classroom, and having an ally might give your child the confidence to try to connect with other preschool classmates. If your child still seems hesitant to be friendly with other children in the class, try adding a potential friend or two with each playdate and help your child feel increasingly comfortable in larger group environments.

Nurturing Community In A Montessori Preschool Classroom

Engagement with fellow students is important in a Montessori preschool classroom. Children can help each other grow and develop, they can help each other discover their own unique values and roles within the preschool community, and they can build friendships that are positive and supportive. The skills necessary to cultivate and sustain friendships are life skills that will serve your child well throughout their school years and beyond. If your child is struggling to form friendships in preschool, try these tips, but also speak to their preschool teacher. The teacher may be able to provide some insight into the roots of the challenge, offer advice, and facilitate social skill-building to help your child succeed in the classroom.

If you are interested in exploring the benefits of a Grey Matter Montessori education for your preschool-aged or kindergarten-aged child, contact us to book a time for a school tour at our NW Calgary location. We are accessible just off of Symons Valley Parkway in the NW community of Evanston. Call us for more info on our Calgary Montessori preschool programming at 587-707-4739.



Q: I think my child is being bullied at preschool. What can I do?
A: Bullying is a very serious matter, and your child should not be left to handle this on their own. For more information to help your child when bullying is an issue, read Strategies To Help Your Preschool Child Handle Bullying. Grey Matter Montessori is committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment where all children can learn, grow, and thrive. We strive to foster an inclusive, diverse, and respectful environment. Bullying of any kind is not tolerated. The Montessori method allows our Grey Matter educators to meet each child where they are and to provide opportunities for them to develop confidence and compassion and realize their own academic and social excellence. To speak to us about our classroom environment and stance on bullying contact our office.

Q: Is it better for my child to stay in a Montessori program for their entire school journey?
A: We may be biased, but we believe every child can benefit from a Montessori education. However, the reality is that Montessori education is not widely available for every student from preschool to grade 12 in Calgary. And factors such as location, community, finances, and availability will influence every family’s decision about where to send their children to school. But even if a Montessori preschool program is the only exposure to the Montessori Method of child-led learning your child will have, the impact of this philosophy of education will set the groundwork for future academic and social success.
For more information read How A Montessori Preschool Prepares Your Child For A Traditional Kindergarten Program.

Q: Is there a checklist of things my child must know before attending preschool?
A: At Grey Matter Montessori in Calgary, we value the differences that make each child unique. If your child is aged 3-6 they may be ready to begin to explore learning and we are ready to facilitate it. Learn more about exploring your child’s readiness for preschool here. 

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Another shout out to an amazing school here in #Calgary! Our youngest son goes to this school and he loves it! In just 5 short months his knowledge has grown, his confidence is starting to bloom and he just loves learning! The personal touch the wonderful teachers provide is certainly priceless!  What I love is that when you walk in there, there is always calming music playing softly, and everyone is smiling and friendly 

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