One of the hottest (and most toxic) topics in Pre-K and K is Best Friends. Most of the children do not enter the year with a preconceived notion that a Bestie is expected. However, once one child says, “You’re not my best friend anymore,” it pops up all over the place both in the classroom and out.
Friendships in early childhood change on a minute by minute basis. A Pre-Kindergartner’s event horizon can usually be confined to 15 minutes before and after right now. At this age, you are my friend if you want to play what I want to play. The minute you want to play something different, you are either no longer my friend, or simply no longer existing beyond my sphere of awareness. Pre-K children are not trying to be mean in this behavior. Rather their ability to understand the perspective of others is simply not developed enough to see beyond their own interests.
For this reason, “Best Friend” is not an appropriate term for the 4 to 6 set. We encourage the children to realize that all of us are friends in our class. Sometimes, we want to play with one child or group and sometimes we chose another. It has less to do with how much we “like” another person and more with whether or not what we are doing is related.