Friendship is the overriding theme of the group. However, more specifically, we engage in a variety of activities geared toward the following:
Week 1. The relationship between our own behavior and forming friendships. We talk about different animals and the behaviors they display. For example, “shark friends” are on the attack; they bite and hurt. They don’t care about our feelings. After discussing several animals and their character traits, we decide that we want to be “teddy bear friends” because teddy bears are there for you whenever you need them. They listen and comfort you.
Week 2. Differentiating between friendly and unfriendly behaviors and how behavior/words help or impede friendship. We make a list of the phrases/actions people use when trying to be friendly and those we want to avoid because they are unfriendly. For example: “Don’t touch those. They’re mine.” “We don’t want you to play with us.” “Let’s use your Legos and my Legos together and we’ll make a farm.” “Can I share your crayons?”
Week 3. Conflict Management Skills—importance of apologies. We read a book called Matthew and Tilly by Rebecca C. Jones and discuss the idea that even best friends sometimes make mistakes and need to say they are sorry. The girls talk about the need to say “I’m sorry child’s name for action” and the fact that apologies help people to feel better even though they don’t make the mistakes go away.
Week 4. Cooperation. The girls work in small groups on projects such as sequencing a set of story cards and putting together small puzzles. In the small groups, they are able to practice working together, making sure everyone is included, and using cooperative language with their peers.
Week 5. Courtesy language. The children brainstorm polite language such as “Excuse Me”, “Thank you", and “Please”, and then use the words written on paper body parts to create a polite person. They pack their polite people to take home as a reminder to use this language in their daily lives.