The 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.
The Friendship Group is for children aged 6 - 9 years. Each group is made up of six children and two staff who meet every week for two hours over a period of 22 weeks.
The Friendship Group is offered in some Barnardos centres in Dublin, Limerick, Cork and Waterford.
What does a child learn in the Friendship Group?
The Friendship Group will help them 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 and get along with others; how to develop their give-and-take skills
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 the Friendship Group is for.
Which children would benefit from a Friendship Group?
Children who need some extra help making friends in their lives. It is suitable for children who may need to build confidence in making friends, or those who may need to slow down and cooperate more with their friends.
Results So Far
During 2009, 90 children participated in the Friendship Group. An evaluation of the programme found that the experience of running the Friendship Group during 2008-2009 was a very positive experience for Barnardos staff, participating children and their parents. The evaluation found that the participating children’s pro-social behaviour improved. Typical skills that were developed included an increased capacity to name and talk about their feelings and emotions, greater confidence, sharing with others and cooperative play.