Learning About and Practicing Friendship

September is just around the corner and that means a new trait for Character Foundations, St. Johns' innovative character education program. Next month Spartans in all three divisions will be learning about and practicing friendship, which is defined as using your words and actions to show others you care. 

Why is it important to study friendship? Research shows that as early as Kindergarten, children are testing the power of their influence and seeking connections with others. So essentially, as soon as children become aware that there are other people in the world besides them, they start making decisions based on the sort of friends they want to attract. It's important for us to give them positive tools to use in these efforts. Developing friendships is a key part of being a kid, and each kid is learning as they go. 

"For children, making friends is a vital part of growing up and an essential component of their social-emotional development," says Director of Counseling Services Diane Landers. "It's important to teach friendship so that children learn and develop skills to help them navigate friendships and build their own relationships with others."

Here are some ways you can bring conversations about friendship home to your family. 

Talk about it

Ask a kid:

  • What are some things that your best friend does to make you feel special?
  • Who are some adults you know that are good friends?

Kids, ask a grown up:

  • Has there ever been a time when a friend let you down? Explain.
  • Share a story of a time you were a good friend to someone who was in a difficult situation.

See it:

  • Watch the movie Trolls together as a family. Specifically talk about how Poppy and her other troll friends and family look past their differences with Bridgett and the other Bergens and make an effort to say or do something nice to show that they care.

Be it:

A couple nights each school week ask your child(ren) how he/she was a good friend to someone at school that day. Examples might be:

  • Made an effort to welcome a new student
  • Defended a classmate when they were being treated unfairly
  • Let an adult know when a student needed help
  • Shared a snack with someone who didn’t bring anything

Read it:

Here are some books to read and share together this month.

Lower School:

  • Aalfred & Aalbert by Morag Hood (Pre-K- Grade 2)
  • Charlie Bumpers vs. The End of the Year by Bill Harley (2-5)
  • Yasmin the Friend by Saadia Faruqi (1-3)
  • The Friendship Book by Mary Lyn Ray (PK-1)
  • Parker Bell and the Science of Friendship by Cynthia Platt (2-5)
  • Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe by Vivian Kirkfield (1-5)
  • Bug Off! A Story of Fireflies and Friendship by Cari Best (K-3)
  • Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry (K-2)
  • A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni (K-2)
  • Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell (K-2)
  • The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson (1-5)
  • Enemy Pie by Derek Munson (K-3)
  • Henry and Leo by Pamela Zagarenski (K-2)
  • In Your Shoes by Donna Gephart (4-6)
  • Dory and the Real True Friend by Abby Hanlon (1-4)
  • Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes (K-3)

Middle & Upper School:

  • Unfriended by Rachel Vail (Grades 6-9)
  • The Wonder of US by Kim Culbertson (Grades 7-12)
  • Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (Grades 9-12)
  • Velocity by Chris Wooding (Grades 7-12)
  • Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity by Kristin Elizabeth Clark (Grades 9-12)
  • Stranger than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer (Grades 9-12)
  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (Grades 6-9)
  • The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise by Matthew Crow (Grades 9-12)
  • Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa (Grades 9-12)
  • The Trouble in Me by Jack Gantos (Grades 7-10)

Just a reminder that while the Heinrich Learning Resource Center may be temporarily closed to parents and visitors due to the coronavirus, you can still check out books for your child (or you!). Just email Library Assistant Jeni Jacobs and she'll be glad to check books out and route them to your student to bring home.