Years 5 and 6 Girls Are Building Healthy Friendship Skills

Connection to other people is one of the most powerful protective factors available. Having people who truly hear and see us helps build positive mental health and resilience. For this reason, it is very important that we ensure our girls have the skills and understandings required for building healthy friendships.

What we have learnt about social-emotional learning over the years is that a one-off lesson is usually ineffective. Kids need a slow drip feed of ideas and skills. With that in mind, our Years 5 and 6 girls have been receiving mini lessons on friendship once a fortnight from our Research Officer, Linda Stade.

Some of the lessons the girls have received include:

  • One best friend is never enough
  • Good gossip vs bad gossip
  • Step away from drama cyclones
  • Building friendships takes time.

An excellent way of assessing whether children have understood and retained lessons is to have them synthesise the information and use it creatively in another form. Mrs Fitzgerald’s Year 6 class did this very effectively in their assembly item on Friday.

The girls created a short play where they acted out two different scenarios where the skills they have learnt would apply. They showed the scenes using the skills they have learnt and what would happen if they didn’t apply those skills.

The girls’ performance was excellent, they demonstrated a sound understanding of their friendship lessons. They gave their fellow students the following tips.

Year 6.6 Friendship Tips

Tip 1 – Have a range of friends, this might be at school, home or through activities you enjoy!

Tip 2 – Don’t let one person be the boss of you

Tip 3 – Remember to share your weird around – make unique connections

Tip 4 – Feel good in all your friendships!

Tip 5 – Don’t engage in negative gossip – remember the ripple effect?

Tip 6 – When people are gossiping, change the subject or tell them you don’t want to talk about that

Tip 7 – Be kind, say more positive things, and start a positive ripple

Tip 8 – Put your big girl boots on and don’t get involved in drama!

Tip 9 – Feel good with positive vibes!

Jocelyn Hansen is Dean of Students, Years 5 & 6. She says, “Watching the Year 6 girls perform their understanding of the friendship skills they have learnt, after listening to Linda and discussing them in class and the playground, has cemented for me the importance of teaching these skills. We often believe social skills are ‘just learnt’ through play and time.  However, the mixed messages children have to contend with from the various forms of media is making it more complex for children to navigate one of the most important life skills – forming and maintaining or not, positive friendships.”

Linda’s friendship lessons will continue for the remainder of the term and the program will be further developed for 2021.

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