Monday, 21 August 2017

The Great Invite Debate

As we head back to school for the start of the new year, along with all of the marking, planning and classroom design headaches comes one that is completely out of our control but which causes no end of fuss EVERY.SINGLE.YEAR! 
Home Readers? NOPE
Nits? NOPE

Ladies and Gents, I bring to you, 'The Great Invite Debate', causing havoc in classrooms and playgrounds across the globe! 

There are 2 main sides to the debate- where do you stand?

Side 1- no child should be left out so everyone should be invited

I appreciate the sentiment here and I can see how being one of the children without an invite can sting. I've watched as invites were given out and little faces fell when they were not handed one- not nice people, not nice. 
Resilience is something many young children are just beginning to develop and something as simple as not being invited can really knock a child- inviting the whole class avoids you having to deal with parents, and little ones, who might not be happy! 
Especially in the early years of a child's school life, friendships are a fickle thing and who your child is best friends with one day might not be the flavour of the month the next. Inviting everyone ensures that, by the time the party comes around, your child's current friends will definitely be on the guest list. 

Side 2- a child has a right to invite whomever they wish to THEIR party

As a teacher, I know full well that not every child gets on and that friendship groups are very important for children (& adults too!). 
Often, in larger schools, children play with others in different classes than their own so if you go for the 'whole class' option then there could be a chance your child's friends aren't even invited. Is simply being a 'classmate' cause enough to get an invite over 'real mates'?

So, if a large portion of the class isn't actually your child's friend then why invite them to celebrate a special event? 
Should we be forced to invite everyone we know to milestone events just to make them feel included? 
Would you do this for your child's Christening or your own wedding? 
Is a birthday party so different? 

What about cost? If you hire out somewhere that's big enough for the whole class this can incur a big bill and if you have it at home then you may not have space for them all- should your child miss out on having their friends at their party because of this or could inviting a select few be the answer? 

Whichever side of the debate you stand on, please remember there are little people's feelings at stake. Something which might seem like no-big-deal to an adult, such as not being invited to a party, might leave a lasting impact on a child. 

I have 3 things to ask you
1. Please don't feel pressured into inviting the whole class if you truly can't or don't want to
2. If you do opt to invite a select few then please make sure it's just that- a few. If your invite list includes the majority of the class then just think how those 3 or 4 children who weren't invited will feel.
3. Think carefully about handing out invites. If you opt for the whole class invite then don't laud it around and make those who didn't, feel bad for their choices. If you choose to invite just a few children then why not give them to their parent's on the playground/ push them through their front door or hand them to the class teacher to put discretely in book bags.
No one likes the smug kid who's playing Wonka with the golden ticket to their party! 

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