How to teach … making friends

A long summer stretches out invitingly before students (and teachers), but when they return to school after the break, everything will have changed. The new academic term means new year groups and, for some, the start of a new school.

With this transition comes the inevitable challenge of making friends. Children of all ages worry about various things, from finding a partner to work with in science class to having someone to eat lunch with on the first day.

So, to prepare your students for their next steps, and in time for the UN International Day of Friendship on Thursday 30 July, this week’s how to teach… includes a selection of ideas and resources to help your students strengthen current friendships and make new ones.

Primary students

There is an old adage that to love someone else you must first love yourself, and the same is true of friendships. Children need to value themselves before they can properly value others, so kick things off by building self-esteem. Get your students to discuss their talents – dancing, running, helping at home or drawing. Then share their ideas during a circle-time activity or record their thoughts on this worksheet.

Next, get children to reflect on others’ qualities by thinking about what they look for in a friend using this worksheet and game, both by Twinkl. Playing as a group or in pairs, students must explain whether each of a variety of attributes is something a “good friend” or “bad friend” would have. Some of the cards have been left blank for pupils’ own ideas. When you’ve gathered opinions on this, get creative by making colourful friendship posters, or write a recipe for what makes a good friend. Ingredients might include a tablespoon of honesty, a pinch of patience and a sprinkle of kindness.

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