Experts agree that friendship is a key part of good well-being, as well as social and emotional development. In addition, it is important to make friendship a key area of focus in your preschool classroom. In this post, we want to discuss the different ways you can go about teaching children the importance and value of friendship.
Foster the development of social skills
In order for children to form and keep friendships, they need to have the chance to develop strong social skills. Focus on teaching students the value of cooperation, patience, sharing and responsibility. Provide ample time for children to play and learn with each other and observe their actions. In particular, look for signs that the child is able to control their own reactions and be aware of the feelings and reactions of others.
Often teaching these skills requires a good deal of role play. Sometimes you might want to take the lead in teaching your child what to do. You may want to take turns until the child is confidently able to make the right decision on their own. Remember that throughout this process, you want to encourage students to be developing the skills that they'll need to resolve conflicts on their own. Ask children what they would do on their own before giving advice yourself. Ultimately, you want children to be developing the ability to compromise and display patience, both of which are critical to strong friendships and good relationships.
Read Books about Friendship
Another useful way to teach children about friendship is to read books about the subject. Make sure that these books discuss key concepts relating to friendship, especially traits of a good friend, such as being thoughtful, helpful and a good listener. Also discuss with your class how friends can be different but still get along well and enjoy spending time together.
Engage Your Class in Team-Building Activities
There are a variety of team-building activities you can have your class take part in. These include putting together forts, group art projects and building block towers. As these activities involve communication, problem-solving and even negotiation, they are ideal exercises for exploring what friendship requires.
By teaching children the importance of friendship from a young age, you help them form strong bonds with their classmates. Focusing on these life skills from a young age also increases the likelihood that children will practice them as they grow up.
ProSolutions Training offers many courses on this subject, including "Activities That Promote Social and Emotional Development in Preschoolers." In this course, you will learn ideas for encouraging cooperative play, as well as how to help children express emotions and suggestions for how to conduct activities that can foster social and emotional growth.
We also offer a CDA course and a CDA Renewal course for professionals seeking the CDA Credential, which is administered and awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition. In 2013, ProSolutions Training became the first online training company to earn the honor of being a formal partner of the Council. Contact us to learn more.