Friendship for me is a very important topic to explore with children from a young age. That may be discussing how someone may feel if left out of games or that everyone is friends. The benefits of friendship include social interaction, happiness, well-being, self-confidence, positivity, encourage communication skills, encourage good behaviour, increase empathy, emotional and social development, and positive outlook on life. The early years educator and parent/guardian should model politeness. Children learn from adults and the adults should model asking nicely for things from others. The adult may model sharing with your peers to the children. This may include a discussion and two early childhood educators modelling sharing with each other. The early years educator may organise group activities or games that promote playing cooperatively with friends. Always remember that sometimes like to play alone or like time alone to do the activities that they want to do. Children may change their areas of interests that they previously had and that is okay. Each and every child has a different personality. For example, some children are confident in doing activities with others while others aren’t. Be understanding and show the child ways in joining in or join in yourself. For me friendship is important for a child’s life and development.
Art and Activities:
- Group activities or games. This may include a wallpaper poster art were a small group of children such as 5 are asked to create a picture on nature. The children will work together to make the picture. This promotes playing cooperatively with other.
- Story time on friendship. This could include a story about the service environment and the child within the service. The story may include activities and discussion of how the characters within the story felt.
- A friendship wall in the service. This may include pictures, photographs and things the children have done to together within the service or activities outside of the service.
- Encourage children and give praise when they have been a good friend. For example, child A helped child B and C tidy the blocks away at the end of playtime. The educator may say “well done child A for helping child B and C to tidy away the blocks”. Ensure the praise is meaningful to the child’s experiences.
- Role play activities using puppets that the children made within the service. The educator may do the puppet show or involve the children within the show. This also gives great questioning and discussion for the children.
- What makes you a good friend hand. Trace the child’s hand and ask each child “what makes someone a good friends”? The child may state; sharing crayons, handing out lunch, playing together outside.
- Musical chairs – great fun and group game.
- Saying one nice thing that a friend did for them at the end of each day before home time.
- Having a friendship day within the service.
- A friendship recipe within the service. It may have titles such as…ingredients: a dash of……, a spoonful of….., a mix of….., a pinch of….., Then a list of instructions.
- The children make friendship bracelets using materials within the home or the service environment. To make this fair pair two children up and both children swap bracelets. The educator could ask questions, such as “why did you make the bracelet like that for child A?
- Find a friend worksheet. This may include find a friend who likes chocolate chip cookies, find a find who has a pet dog, find a friends who has blue eyes, find a friend who likes to draw, find a friends who likes tractors etc.
- creating an area were each child makes a picture of themselves, the educator could join the pictures in a circle of friendship. This could also be done by tracing the child’s hand and joining them within a friendship circle after the child has decorated their own hand.
- Friendship goals on the service welcome area.
- A jigsaw pictures were each child draws themselves within a jigsaw piece. The heading could be we all fit together.
- Friendship story or song.