My 4.5-year-old daughter moved to the 'big kids school' this year to attend pre-k. The school goes through eighth grade and so is perceived by my kids as the 'big kids school'. Prior to that she went to nursery school at another place. The nursery school started a kindergarten program that we feel will better serve her, compared to the one offered to her in the school she currently attends,due to her learning style. We will be moving her back to this school for first grade. An added complication is her younger brother is moving to the 'big kids school' for pre-k.

Are there any suggestions on how to help her understand why we are moving her and to help her not think we are moving her back to a little kids school?

  • What is the reason you feel the nursery school's kindergarten would better serve your daughter?
    – at01
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 18:55
  • It has to do with her learning style, but I am not sure a 4.5 year old can understand that. Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 20:28
  • Does the nursery school have a pre-k program? If so, have you considered sending the younger child there as well?
    – Erin
    Commented Jan 27, 2012 at 22:05
  • 3
    I'm really tardy to this question, but here's a factor for you to consider: The value of the consistency of facility as compared to the "better" nature of the teaching. Daycare, then Pre-K at the school, then K at the daycare, then you'll be going BACK to school at the school. That's a lot of hopping around. Were it me, under the same circumstances, I'd probably just keep the kid in the school. Because it sounds like you're trying to find what's best, as opposed to avoiding what's worse; we're talking about what's "more better" not "less bad"
    – monsto
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 2:09

2 Answers 2


First, to answer the general question ... NO. There is really no way that a 4/5/6 year old can understand why these kinds of things are happening. Just reassure that she is not disappointing you, that you love her, and be relentlessly positive.

More specifically to your case .. there is no way around her feeling like she has done failed or something wrong. I don't spend a whole bunch of time worrying about self-esteem for it's own sake, but this is something that will make her think badly of herself for no apparent reason.

Are you sure this is a wise move? Unless the K teacher at the "big kids school" is truly horrible, it seems unlikely that benefits of the repeated disruption are worth the risks and trouble of the disruption. Have you considered keeping her at the "big kid school" and getting her some additional enrichment or support? Consider also that the benefit of the "better" K will be offset by the benefit of remaining at the big kid school.



I've been thinking about this question for a few days, and here's the best I can come up with (and since it's been almost a month, none of this may apply to you anymore):

I think a certain level of push-back from your daughter is to be expected. Especially if her friends are at the big kids school and whatnot. I think the only thing you can really do is explain to her (as best you can) that the school you're sending her back to is better and that you like it better. Keep is simple, and it's perhaps a good opportunity to teach her that sometimes we have to do things that we don't especially want to do or like to do initially, but we can learn to like them.

Having read your previous posts, I don't think there's any danger of your daughter being made to feel dumb or stupid, but I think she probably will need some extra TLC for a little while until she adjusts.

Even as I re-read that, I feel like it's a lame answer, but I think that's probably how I would approach it with my 4-year-old if it were me.

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