It can be worrying as parent to see that your child is not fitting in socially in kindergarten. For children who are having trouble fitting in socially, establishing some skills to deal with larger groups of children can be extremely useful and can establish good patterns for future years.
Here are some steps that can help you work through your concerns.
1. Take a deep breath
Make sure that you are relaxed and actively extract your personal history and concerns from any issues your child is having. Sometimes children who are particularly quiet and introverted are intentionally playing apart from their class during break time, taking a respite from the busy (and at times noisy) environment of 20+ of their classmates. They may not be overly worried about not playing with other children, and that is perfectly age appropriate.
2. Speak to the teacher
Any parent is only seeing their child in the school environment for a few moments each day. The teacher will be able to tell you if they are having issues throughout the day and if there are issues with group activities in the class. They can also keep an eye out for any excluding behaviour coming from other children and draw your child into activities with other accepting children.
3. Organise some out of school play dates
Your child may find one-on-one interactions, in a more comfortable environment such as your house or a favourite playground, easier to sustain than the school yard. Ask your child and/or the teacher which children might be good playmates and invite them (through their parents) to a one-on-one play date with your child.
4. Practise structured role-playing
If your child is showing some anti-social behaviour such as yelling, hitting or snatching toys, it can be useful to practise some of their more stressful scenarios with them at home and discuss the best way to deal with issues with other kids without resorting to unfriendly behaviours. Equally, for quieter children practising some assertive phrases such as "stop, I don't like that" and walking away from arguments can help them deal with stressful situations proactively, before they end up stressed and potentially start lashing out.
It's important to remember that social skills are learnt in a similar way to other childhood skills like riding a bike: by repetition and practise. While some children may be more naturally gifted at social interaction than others in a large group, in a warm and supportive environment, all children will be able to form some close relationships with their classmates. For more information and advice, contact a business such as Erina Kindergarten.