Parenting a preschooler isn’t an easy task for anyone. They have way too much energy, yet they don’t really know what to use that energy on. So they tend to get excited at the most random times and parents just go with the flow. Preschool is an important time for the kids, as they learn to interact with others and begin to socialize.
One New England mother is very angry with her daughter’s preschool after a recent rule change they made. Her daughter had been happy and excited to go to school until this one fateful day when everything changed.
The Pentucket Workshop Preschool in Georgetown, Massachusetts decided to ban the use of the word, “best friend,” in all of their classes beginning immediately. Christine Hartwell’s daughter was stunned when her teacher told her about this rule and told her mom about it right when she got home.
Hartwell was incredibly annoyed when her daughter told her this and immediately began taking steps to remove her daughter from the school.
“I think it’s ridiculous. Children who are 4-years-old speak from their heart, so they should be able to call kids anything loving,” she told WMTW8. “You’re my best friend, you’re my best pal, even now she goes to say it in a loving way… and she looks at me sideways as she’s saying it and she’s checking in with me to see if that language is okay.”
Kids are already dealing with so many new things at that age, and adding to this stress by banning innocuous words like “best friend” doesn’t make a whole ton of sense.
The school has defended their decision by saying that by banning “best friend,” they are promoting more inclusivity among the student population.
“It has been our experience… that the use of the term, ‘best friend,’ even when used in a loving way, can lead other children to feel excluded,” they said in a letter to the Hartwells.
Promoting inclusivity and preventing bullying is an important role for a school to play. Students should be free to go to school without worrying about being teased and bullied day after day. But that doesn’t mean that regulating the children’s freedom of speech like this is necessary or even beneficial.
This trend isn’t new, as schools in Europe have banned the concept of best friends as well. But rather than focusing on the inclusivity, many supporters claim that it teaches children to build a larger support network rather than relying on one or two best friends.
“We try to talk to kids and work with them to get them to have big groups of friends and not be so possessive about friends,” Christine Laycob, director of counseling at Mary Institute in St. Louis told the New York Times.
Much of this stems from the fear parents have of the “empty birthday party,” meaning that their child invites everyone from class but nobody comes. Some schools even make rules about this, mandating that if a student invites one person from their class to a party, they must invite them all.
Do you think rules like this are beneficial or harmful to a child’s social development? Share your thoughts in the comments.