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Social Skills in Preschool Children: New Friends

written by: Kathy Foust • edited by: Jacqueline Chinappi • updated: 1/20/2012

Use this preschool activity to welcome new members to the preschool. This activity is meant to develop social skills in preschoolers while allowing them to feel their own importance.

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    Developing Preschool Tolerance

    This activity will help preschoolers to develop social skills by learning to be tolerant of differences in others. This activity has the goal of welcoming new members to the class while letting the other members know they are still important. This preschool activity also allows teachers to keep up to date on the interests and personalities of new and current members of the preschool.

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    Preschool Social Skills Activity

    Everyone has been the "new kid" at some time or other in their lives. It can be scary and overwhelming. Preschoolers are especially subject to uncomfortable feelings as they may be not only entering a new atmosphere, but could also be experiencing separation anxiety. Preschoolers that are current students may feel curious about the new child, but may also be jealous of an excess attention the child gets. This activity is a great way to ease anxious feelings while allowing children to celebrate differences amongst each other. Follow the directions below to perform this activity.

    • Ask children to sit down in a circle on the floor. Circle sitting tends to make everyone equal and encourage participation from all members.
    • The teacher joins the students and has notebook in hand.
    • Announce to the class that this is "All About Us" time.
    • Ask students to go around the circle and introduce themselves. As they introduce themselves, children should also answer the question "What is my favorite thing about preschool?". Do not start with the new student. Do not make the new students last either, but somewhere in the middle. Answering the question about their favorite thing will let the new student know that there are things to be enjoyed here and they may develop some common ground with other students.
    • Once everyone is introduced, ask questions on your list (see example questions below). Children should answer one question at a time. Write answers to the questions in your notebook.
    • Once the "All About Us" time is over, pass out snack and allow children to socialize in a less formal setting for a brief period of time.

    The notebook that you create about the children should include information about each student. This is a way to get to know the children and their changing interests in an ongoing manner. This list may come in handy when pairing children up, celebrating birthdays or creating systems of positive reinforcement. Review the list below for sample questions.

    • What is your favorite color?
    • Who is your favorite Superhero?
    • Do you play video games? If so, which ones are your favorite?
    • What do you like to do outside?
    • What is your favorite board game?
    • What do you enjoy most/least about preschool?
    • What is your favorite snack?

    This activity is a great way to allow children to feel welcome and be welcoming without anyone having to be embarrassed or shy. Children will find that they like and dislike similar things. They may even be introduced to new concepts. If this is done at the start of the preschool year and every time a new students joins, the very act of sitting down to do this activity will revive memories for the preschoolers and will therefore create an immediate common ground. Creating that common ground is a wonderful way for preschoolers to learn that people who are different also have similarities in interests as well as feelings. Do this activity to help develop welcoming and tolerance social skills in your preschool students. As the teacher, feel free to participate in this activity. This may help preschoolers who have never been away from home, to realize that yes you are a teacher, but you are still a person. It doesn't hurt if you know something about Spiderman either!