Dealing with Cliques in Elementary School

I know this seems a bit far-fetched, but there is a clique in my child's first grade class. Four or five of the 11 girls in the class are led by one girl. Some days my daughter is accepted, others not. This makes her very unhappy, as she doesn't understand why this happens. Plus, she wants to be part of the group all the time as she thinks that these girls are the cool kids.

I have spoken with the teacher, who says cliques are normal, and she is fine with this situation. She obviously does not realize how hurtful this is to my daughter and others in the classroom. -- Unhappy Child

Answer: It would certainly be helpful if this teacher was more concerned with the feelings of the children in this classroom. She could do so much to improve the situation and disrupt the cliques. Unfortunately, cliques that used to appear in middle school and high school are now appearing as early as kindergarten.

You may not be successful in changing the situation at your child's school. You can bring it to the attention of the principal. This will be most effective if you ask other concerned parents in the class to accompany you. This is also an issue that can be addressed by the parent/teacher organization.

You can help your child find a comfortable social niche in and outside the classroom in these ways:

  • -Have playdates in your home with both clique and non-clique classmates.
  • -Have your child participate in activities outside of the school so she can find new friends with common interests.