We made this decision for two reasons, 1) there were only two kindergarten teachers and 2) after having gone through the Montessori experience of three separate children in three separate classrooms and birthday parties that exceeded 75 children ... we thought we'd make things easier for ourselves.
Recently, we were at an event where we met someone who had an only-child, a little girl, the exact same age as our trio. As the children played together, I very quickly noticed that the little girl was interfacing only with Carolyn. Whenever Elizabeth or William would want to join in to the mix, the little girl would grab Carolyn by the arm and run in the exact opposite direction. Then she'd smile and say, "Carolyn is my BEST friend. I don't want to play with you, two!"
My maternal alarms were on high alert as I recognized it wasn't long before William blew the girls off and went to go find something else to do. But I could tell that Elizabeth was heartbroken. So, I stepped in and had to resist the temptation to pummel the little girl TO THE GROUND.
I called Carolyn aside and said, "Look, I know that you are having so much fun playing and I'm really glad to see you happy, but you need to know something: Elizabeth is your sister and your sister is your best friend. NO ONE should ever come between the two of you. Do you understand? Right now her feelings are really hurt because you aren't playing with her. Can you imagine what it would feel like if she had a new friend that was pulling her away from YOU?"
Carolyn looked at her sister, and it seemingly dawned on her, what had been happening and she slowly nodded in agreement. My heart soared as she walked over, embraced her sister in a tight hug, and for the rest of the day, the two were inseparable.
Yesterday, I happened to snap this picture, as the children were charging off the school bus. What I didn't know when I took the picture is that the slip of paper Carolyn is pulling out of her backpack, is an invitation for a play date at one of her classmates homes.
It appears, only Carolyn was invited.
William could care less and skipped the whole way home. Elizabeth, meanwhile, cried the whole way home. And aside from telling my daughter about how wonderful she was and how any girl would be extremely lucky to be her friend, I was torn with what to do?
First and foremost, I don't want to send my child to a play date at a classmate's house, wherein I do not know the classmate OR her parents, OR any one that might be frequenting the house.
What if there is a pedophile living there, or thereabouts? What if there are guns? What if there is leftover Halloween candy, laying around hither tither? What if there are any bad things that I can't quite think about right now, but surely exist?
Second and equally foremost, while I
What if their social circles don't mesh?
What if one feels left out?
Do I withdraw all my children from school and home school?!
Do I allow my one child to develop a friendship sans her siblings, or do I suggest, instead - that this solo friend come over to OUR house for a play date? Do I write to the mother and tell her, "Sure! We'd love to come over and have a play date. But oh, by the way, there are actually four children that will be in attendance. Hope you don't mind! "
I don't have the answer to this.
I hope you do.
If so, please tell me.