Little kids tend to get excited by even the slightest things. Parents with pre-schooler kids know this quite well and are willing to indulge their kids and flow along with it. This period of the kid’s life is quite critical as it is the time where they learn to socialize which is why many parents prefer to indulge their kids and let them certain things freely without restrictions.
So you can understand the anger and frustration of one New England mom when a new rule was introduced in her daughter’s preschool which could potentially affect the little girl’s social life. According to the young mom, her daughter was always excited to go to school but on one fateful day everything change.
Christine Harwell said her daughter’s preschool, Pentucket Workshop Preschool in Georgetown, Massachusetts had made some adjustments in the school rule and the new school the word “best friend” was banned from use in all the classes in the school.
Hartwell as shocked and very annoyed when her daughter informed her about the new rule at school. The enraged mother immediately started making plans to withdraw 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 lovingly… 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.”
It’s a changing world and kids today have to deal with so many things that were not even in existence years ago, Hartwell thinks it’s unfair that we are adding innocuous words like “best friend” to the list of things little kids have to worry about too.
However, in defending their action, the school explained that their moves is simply a way to promote inclusivity among the students in the school since the use of the term can lead to a feeling of exclusion. In a letter written to Hartwell to explain their decision they wrote.
“It has been our experience… that the use of the term, ‘best friend,’ even when used lovingly, can lead other children to feel excluded,” they said in a letter to the Hartwells. While it is true that school should try to promote inclusivity among kids and put an end to acts that can be considered as bullying, banning certain words or regulating freedom of speech like this especially with children who may not even have any idea why it is being done is unnecessary and not even beneficial.
The trend to ban words “best friends” or even the mere concept of it isn’t an entirely new move. Some schools in Europe have done the same thing as well. But in this case, the explanation given has less to do with inclusivity but rather on the need for children to focus on building a more extensive support network instead of simply relying on one or two best friends as is usually the case.
According to Christine Laycob, director of counselling at Mary Institute in St. Louis “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,”
Moves like this result from the fear many parents have of what is referred to as “empty birthday party” a scenario where the child invites everyone in the class, but no one shows up. Some schools have even gone to the extent of ensuring the students who want to invite friends to their birthday party must invite everyone in the class and not just specific people.
We have to admit that while this rule has its advantages, there are also potential negative effects as well. What’s your thought about this unconventional ban?