Next Friday 30 July is the International Day of Friendship. One of the aims of the International Day of Friendship is to foster a culture of peace through education. It is “based on the recognition of the relevance and importance of friendship as a noble and valuable sentiment in the lives of human beings around the world”.
Some children find it easy to make friends. Others may find it a little more difficult. While some of us enjoy time on our own, there’s no denying that days are often brighter with friends. This is especially true of children at school. Without a friend to play with, children can feel left out and alone. They may feel they don’t belong and begin to think ‘What’s wrong with me?’ Having a friend or two can influence how they feel about attending school and impact the whole school experience.
The establishment of a welcoming and supportive classroom in which all children have a sense of belonging is essential and underpins a great year of learning and teaching for all involved. Part of that classroom is the social dynamics and friendship groups. They don’t always form naturally and, especially when some friendship groups are already established, newcomers may have difficulty being accepted when they try to fit in.
Here at readilearn, we have a variety of lessons, activities and teaching resources to assist the teaching of friendship skills in your classroom. They can all be found in the Friendship Skills collection in the section Character Development.
Getting to know each other
Getting to know you surveys are a great way for teachers and children to get to know each other at the beginning of the year, and support the establishment of a welcoming, supportive environment in which individuals are respected and appreciated. Topics to survey are limited only by your imagination. With the incidental development of literacy and mathematical skills, they make an all-round great introduction to school.
Me and my friends Children interview their friends to find out ways in which they are similar and how they differ from each other
As children get to know each other, they come to realise that they have some characteristics in common and some that differ. Those characteristics do not make them better or worse. They make them who they are.
Me and My Buddy is a great activity for your children’s first session with their buddy class.
Children interview their buddies to find out more about them and discuss ways in which they and their buddies are similar and different.
A community of friends
Busy Bee chants are a great way of building community as they encourage everyone to join in. These chants help to:
- Develop a sense of belonging
- Reinforce positive attitudes to school and behaviour expectations
- Organise children spontaneously
- Send children home happy
Busy Bees ABC of Friendship is an alphabet of words that can be used to stimulate discussion about what a friend is and what friends do.
Each letter has a word and accompanying explanatory statement on its own chart. The charts can be displayed on the interactive whiteboard to stimulate discussion about the words and what they mean for being a friend. They can also be printed and displayed in the classroom or compiled into a book to place in the reading corner or for children to take home and read to parents.
Busy Bees ABC of Positive Adjectives is a list of positive adjectives that children can use to describe themselves and each other or to use in their writing. Each letter of the alphabet has its own colourful poster and list of adjectives.
Being a friend
Be friends not bullies provides suggestions for teaching friendship skills. It teaches them to identify the differences between friendly and unfriendly behaviour, to recognise bullying and to provide strategies for dealing with bullying that they may encounter personally or as an onlooker.
The resource includes:
- a story stimulus with suggestions for presentation and discussion
- follow up activities
- games to play
- a poster to print.
Busy Bees High-5 Charts support setting up a classroom with a Busy Bee theme but can be used in any early childhood classroom. The high-5 helps children remember strategies for being friendly and resilient in the playground and other situations.
The resource is comprised of 3 posters
- Bee friendly
- Bee resilient
- Blank (for your own).
Extend the hand of friendship suggests ways of helping children develop the all-important skill of making friends.
The resource includes
- three printable posters about friendship
- three printable worksheets that can be personalised with children’s handprints or drawings and individual or class-written acrostic poems
- teaching suggestions.
Be a friendship superhero
Who doesn’t like to be a superhero?
Friendship Superhero Posters is a series of eight posters and a chart heading that supports other resources in the Friendship Superhero suite for use when teaching friendship skills in an early childhood classroom.
Each set of eight posters presents four different friendship statements, each accompanying a girl image and a boy image. The phrases are:
- Friendship is my superpower! Who can I help today?
- Be a Friendship Superhero. Turn the sad to glad.
- Unleash your friendship superpower!
- I am a friendship superhero, spreading smiles wherever I go.
Friendship Superheroes supports other resources in the Friendship Superhero series.
These printable sheets give children an opportunity to write about ways in which they show kindness to others by being good friends.
Children can list their friendly actions or write about an incident in which they were called upon to be a good friend, or perhaps benefitted by the friendship of another.
Friendship Scenarios — Discussion starters presents a range of everyday situations that children may encounter and asks them to contemplate and discuss how they would respond in a friendly way using their Friendship Superpower.
Ten scenarios are included in the resource, each presented on its own page which can be displayed on the interactive whiteboard to begin the discussion. Alternatively, pages can printed for display in the classroom or combined into a booklet.
The Friendship Superhero Award supports other resources in the Friendship Superhero series. The awards can be printed and distributed to children who show kindness to others.
Friendship Superhero badges support other resources in the Friendship Superhero suite of resources. The badges can be printed and distributed to children as either incentives or rewards for being kind to others.
Make a friendship tree
The instructions How to make a friendship tree, presented with one instruction per page, can be displayed on the interactive whiteboard board for use with the whole class or group.
Friendship trees can be used to help build self-esteem, confidence and friendship skills.
Each child makes their own friendship tree which classmates fill with anonymous positive messages of friendship and affirmation.
This poster of Friendship messages can be printed and displayed in the classroom as a reminder of ways to talk friendly to each other. However, it was designed to support use of the resource Friendship Trees, which encourage children to write anonymous notes of affirmation to their classmates.
Writing stories of friendship
Mouse and Crow — a stimulus for writing contains a series of images and questions to get the children thinking about friendship, who can be a friend, and what friends do. The images focus on the unlikely friendship of a mouse and a crow. Children are asked to consider circumstances that may have led to these two being friends.
All of these resources can be purchased individually or collectively as part of a subscription.
While you are here, remember to check out the complete readilearn collection of
over 480 teaching resources for the first three years of school
Resources beyond worksheets – lessons for teachers made by teachers.
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