Public school - how are they supposed to make friends?? — The Bump
School-Aged Children

Public school - how are they supposed to make friends??

Might seem like a silly question, but I'm genuinely feeling "lost."

Last year my son went to a private pre-school. They were VERY well organized. We received a family directory, as well as a class directory (parents voluntary gave this info, of course). Over the course of the year, there were many opportunities to interact with other parents - we were encouraged to come in and help in the class, etc. Got to know a few moms there. Having the directory was great because it helped me, as the parent, get to know who my child was going to school with. If I had a question, I could call any parent in his class, etc. A lot of people made friends that way.

Now that my son is in public school, it seems like a whole different ballgame. There are no kids his age on our block, so it's not like he can get to know the kid down the street. The school as well as the class does NOT offer out any sort of directory, even on a voluntary basis. I don't even know who most of the kids in his class are (name-wise!)

We went to "Open House" - and there was a whopping 3 other sets of parents there. This is for a classroom of 18 kids!! I did a quick # and email exchange with one of the moms, but we haven't been in touch since.

I haven't gotten anything regarding the PTA, volunteering, etc. Nada. And actually the teacher made mention that although we are welcome to come "visit" anytime, she would prefer it be kept at a minimum so there are minimal disruptions to the class.

Anyway, so maybe a stupid question... maybe one without any real good answer... but how am I supposed to get to know the parents?? I feel like at this rate I'm never going to get to know any of them (we've been back to school since 8/24).

Sorry that this turned into more of a vent than anything else, lol. I'm just feeling frustrated. Not only do I want my son to make friends he can play with OUTSIDE of school, but ::waves hand:: hi, I'd like to make some friends too, lol. Embarrassed

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Mommy to 2 boys, ages 7 and 5 and a little girl who is 1.5

Re: Public school - how are they supposed to make friends??

  • I totally feel the same exact way. The teacher said that for birthday parties they will discreetly put envelopes in the folder of the child you want invited, so maybe you can request that the teacher put a note with contact info in the folder for a child that your son wants to play with. 

    I thought I would be more involved in the class but both teachers seem unapproachable even when I am offering to volunteer!  I only know a couple kids names b/c my dd talks about them but don't know any faces.

  •  I am in the same boat. DD#1 goes to private school and I am still in the same boat and with DD#2 goes to a public preschool but I have the same issue there as well. She doesnt have many friends. We reach out, but others dont and i definately dont want to be that pest parent so I have just waited for the opportunity to present itself. But I can definately relate to how you feel.

    Mom to: Anaya Faith 6-1-09; Heaven Saraiya 12-30-05 and Alisa 1-7-98
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  • DS is only in his 3rd week of K, but there is going to be a class directory and there's already been an email list generated by the teacher.  I do know that his school ranked really well for parent/teacher communication.

    He still doesn't know the names of anyone in his class, but that will come with time - it was the same when he started private preK.

    I was sort of wondering this myself when we went to Peak at Your Seat and there were moms that were friendly with each other, but I bet it happens over time.

    We also do get communication from the PTA and I'm going to join at Back to School night and I'm considering being active (I might regret that).

  • DS has our phone number memorized and he would give it to his friends.  And he would get their phone numbers.  Then we'd just call and set up playdates.
  • imagembenit4:

    I really never thought about a need to get to know the other parents. What would you need to know them for? Maybe this part is going over my head.

    I would never want my son (5 years old) going over to someone elses house unless I knew the parents. I'd like to get to know parents so we can encourage our kids to become friends and play together outside of school. There's also the slightly selfish reason of me wanting to make friends with other moms. My mom was friends with all of my friends' moms when I was little.... I want to say up until like, 4th or 5th grade... my mom knew all of my friends' moms. I guess my expectation of this comes from how I grew up?

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    Mommy to 2 boys, ages 7 and 5 and a little girl who is 1.5
  • Feel free to vent. It sounds like that school doesn't put any effort into building friendships.

    My daughter is in public school. They do a wonderful job of getting everyone involved. Most of us volunteer, so parents meet other parents. The PTA also has a big Kick Off event...  ice cream, huge raffle, and lots of time to meet others. The school puts out a directory with every family's contact info. There is a delay of about 6 weeks before we get it. School started... they send home a form for parents to update with their email, phone and address... by the time they enter it and create a directory, most of us have already started collecting contact info from the parents we meet.

    Here are some ideas that might work for you.

    Have a get-together at a local park, community center or YMCA. Distribute invitations to your child's entire class. Make it casual. Be clear that it is a family event, so people don't just drop their child off.

    Make a contact card for your child to give to classmates. I did this at the end of kindergarten. It was just a card with my daughter's photo and name. It said something like, "Looking forward to a fun summer. I hope you have time to play." ... and had my email and phone #. Lots of the moms called and commented that the card was a great idea.

    Are there any after-school activities? Lots of my daughter's first friends were made through Art Club. It met once a week. Some parents volunteered to help. Others met when they came to pick-up their child.

    Good luck

    Newlyweds since 2007
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