In this post, we dig deeper into the ways we can promote and support friendships, by telling and showing why helping children form friendships is important.
“We found that inclusion in and of itself does not equate to increased acceptance, classroom membership or peer relationships. This research emphasizes the importance of individualizing class-wide programs based on children’s support needs.” Lori Meyer, Ph.D.
A few weeks ago, Lori Meyer (@) and I started a conversation around the importance of teaching and helping children form friendships. Check out our earlier blog titled,”Five Ways to Help Children Form BFF“.
Basically, the first of five evidence-based strategies invites you to talk about friendship…ALLLL…DAY…LONGGGGG.
One easy way to do this is to read and tell stories about friendship.
One of my favorite stories, about friendships, is “Soul Friends,” written….by MY friend…..Mayra Porrata (@).
You can download a free e-copy of the book here.
You can also download a free educational resource…a printable PowerPacks™ by clicking here.
Another way to ensure we talk about friendship…ALLLL…DAY…LONGGGGG…is to remember that children spend considerable time outside the school environment. This means, we need to talk to families and other caregivers about the importance of friendships.
We can do this by:
- Sharing books with families…about friendships
- Encouraging families to tell stories about childhood friends or when a friend has helped them
- Putting tips for supporting friendships in a newsletter or classroom blog
- Sharing allowable information about friendships that have formed in the classroom
Another way to ensure we talk about friendship… ALLLL…DAY…LONGGGGG…is to identify all the places, within a day, that make up children’s social environment. Then, we talk with others who are in these places, about the importance of friendships. For example, we talk to other teachers, with bus drivers, cooks, secretaries, outdoor supervisors, and therapists.
These other adults may see different aspects of children’s social lives, and can foster friendships through intentional decision-making, such as seating arrangements, peers chosen for partner or small group activities, and also reading or telling stories about friendships.
Remember, however, others may not recognize the importance of close relationships in supporting children’s overall development. This means, we need to talk with others, including administrators and school leaders, about the role friendships play in supporting children’s healthy academic and social success.
Share important facts from research & your own experiences.
Download all of our friendship FACT printables by clicking here.
Looking for more ways to ensure we talk about friendship…ALLLL…DAY…LONGGGG?
- Remember to listen. Listening in on conversations between children can be a powerful way to learn what children are thinking, needing, and seeking in their social lives and friendships.
- Ask children questions about peers in the classroom, to identify their closest classmates, and listen for reasons why they consider others to be close friends.
- You can also serve as a documentarian of friendship, noting and sharing personal stories of how children’s transitions to school or learning experiences have been enhanced because of sharing a special relationship with a classmate.
This week’s rule of thumb, is to “tell and show” why helping children form friendships is important. What actions will you take?