At kindergarten, adults and tamariki can work and play together, and forge relationships that often last a lifetime.
- Tamariki make friends at kindergarten.
- Often these relationships last well beyond the ‘kindy years’. Tamariki can go on to school together and stay in touch for decades after that. Many times people will comment on how they met their best friend at kindy.
- Learning to be around other children, to co-operate with each other, and to share and take turns are fundamental social interactions.
- Whānau also make friends here, too. It’s not just children who make meaningful connections. Coming to kindergarten means being part of the Kidsfirst whānau.
- Because kindy is a hub for the local community, those new to a neighbourhood meet others with young children and create new friendships. Kaiako offer a warm welcome and encourage everyone to join in.
- Kindergartens are happy places that welcome everybody, and encourage a sense of belonging.
You’ve got a friend in us
Making friends has always been one of the things people associate with kindy.
Parents often talk about how their children are still friends with the children they met at kindy and went on to school with. New families to the neighbourhood tell of how they found friends among the other parents. Local businesses acknowledge the connections that come with being a hub for the community, and being part of the kindy whānau.
It’s not just children that make friends at kindy.
However, for many children this is an important component of their development. The social interactions involved, and learning to play and work with others is fundamental to further growth. Such socialisation is vital. And it’s not just about the good times, but learning how to handle conflict when tamariki don’t agree with each other.
Some tamariki find it easy to make friends and get along with everyone, while others find it more difficult, and might need more time and encouragement before they happily join in and form relationships.
The bonds that are formed can prove to last a lifetime. We’re often told stories of people who met their best friend at kindy and are still close decades later.
At its simplest level, a friend is someone you have fun with, and in whose company you enjoy spending time. Proximity, frequency and duration are all factors in establishing friendships, so coming to kindergarten regularly and spending time with each other helps cultivate these relationships.
There are a lot of social skills involved in becoming friends – including learning to share, taking turns, co-operating, listening, and handling disagreements. For some tamariki, these skills are more instinctive than for others.
We try to teach children that it’s also a two-way street, not just making friends but being a good friend yourself. It might require negotiation and co-operation when everyone wants to play with the same thing, as well as a lot of listening and talking to each other.
Making friends doesn’t mean that your child won’t spend time alone sometimes, or might choose to play by themselves. However, it’s about being able to enjoy friendships when you choose to that’s important.
Not everyone gets along with everyone else, so a lot of our focus is not just on who is or isn’t a ‘friend’, but being friendly to everybody.
Our kindergartens are active hubs for the local community and we help connect parents and caregivers in all sorts of ways.
As we like to say, “You’re always welcome here!”
Getting along with others is a fundamental life skill. One of the things we encourage at kindergarten is not just having one or two special ‘friends’ but being friendly with everyone and learning to all get along.
Although many tamariki make friends in these early years at kindergarten that can last a lifetime, the goal is to encourage positive social interaction with all of the other children.
Getting along with others, even when things aren’t going quite right, is an essential life skill, and one best learnt young.
But beyond that, connections made early in life often have a greater lasting impact. When you’ve been friends with someone for decades, with so many shared experiences and a common history, the bonds run deep. While not everyone makes these relationships, we’re constantly surprised by how many times we hear variations on the same story, with teenagers and young adults saying they met their friends at kindy.