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Friendship Group

What is Friendship Group

Friendship Group is an evidence-based group work programme that helps children who are experiencing difficulty making and keeping friends to develop the skills they need to interact appropriately with their peer group.

Friendship Group is about giving children a place to develop and practice the skills they need to form healthy friendships. This proven programme was designed in the United States and is rooted in a strong understanding of children’s development.

There are two different levels of Friendship Group:

  • The younger or elementary Friendship Group is a 22 week programme for children aged 5 to 8 years of age
  • Older or advanced Friendship Group which is a 14 week programme for children aged 8 to 12 years.

Friendship Group is offered by many Barnardos projects and is delivered in both the projects and schools.

What does a child learn in Friendship Group?

The ability to make and keep friends is a really important life skill for children to learn. Some children need an extra helping hand to learn these skills and this is what Friendship Group is for.

Friendship Group helps children to make and keep friends by teaching them about:

  • Feelings – how to recognise their own feelings and the feelings of others
  • Solving problems – how to negotiate with others and find solutions to problems
  • Working together – how to play fair, cooperate, get along with others and develop their give-and-take skills

Which children benefit from Friendship Group?

Friendship benefits children who:

  • need extra help making friends
  • need confidence in their ability to make and keep friends
  • need to learn how to cooperate with friends
  • need to learn how to be part of a group

Friendship Group is a fun, interactive programme where children get the opportunity and support to learn and practise the skills necessary to make and maintain friendships.

Research and Evaluation

Friendship Group Evaluation - Executive Summary

An evaluation of the programme found that the experience of running the Friendship Group during 2008-2009 was a very positive experience for Barnardos' participating children and their parents, and staff.

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