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Starting preschool is a very exciting, yet scary time for children. Many children have not been exposed to social setting before starting school, and they may not know how to make and keep friends. Although these seem like things that should come naturally, that is not so. Children need to be taught how to make friends. They must also learn the qualities that should be found in a friend and how to treat their friends. This lesson is a great way to address these necessary friendship skills.
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- How To Be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them by Laurie Krasny Brown
- Interview Sheet
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Before beginning the lesson, ask students to sit in a circle. Ask the students to look around the circle and tell you who these people are in one word. You may get answers such as classmates, students, preschoolers, prekindergarteners, and classroom family. Keep asking for more ideas. Hopefully someone will say "friends." Explain that you are all friends, and that you will be learning more about friends. You will be learning about how to make friends, how to choose your friends, and how to treat your friends.
Read How To Be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Theme by Laurie Krasny Brown. This book is broken into parts on many different aspects of friendship. Make sure you take the time after each section to review the information and check for comprehension.
When you are finished reading the book, ask the students who can be their friend. The students should mention that anyone can be a friend, no matter what their age. They may also mention that they do not want to be friends with bullies or people who do not have the characteristics they look for in friends. Now give each student a piece of paper and a crayon. Ask them to draw a picture of themselves doing whatever they like to do with their best friend.
Next, discuss with the students how you treat a friend. This is a great time to review the part of the book on being friendly. Ask out situations for the students and ask them whether it is a nice way to treat a friend or a bad way to treat a friend. Some possible situations could be:
- "I brought an extra brownie in my lunch for you."
- "I don't want to pay tag with you! I want to play on the slide, so you have to play too."
- "Are you okay?"
- "Good morning!"
- "That's dumb!"
Lastly, tell the students that good friends spend time learning about their friends. Tell them today they will be learning more about one of their friends in the classroom. Assign each student to a partner, and have them sit together. Next, give each student an interview sheet. You can make this simple sheet on your own. List 5 things you want the students to find out about their partner. Just make sure to leave a large space between each question so they have room to draw a picture of the answer. Work through this as a class. Read each question to the students, and give them time to answer before moving to the next one. Some possible questions include:
- What is your favorite color?
- What is your favorite TV show?
- What do you do for fun?
- What kind of pets do you have?
- Who is in your family?
- What is your favorite movie?
- What is your favorite food?
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There are so many things you can do to extend the lesson. A great way to give the students a treat while still working on the friends theme is to let them watch Wee Sing in Sillyville, which focuses on the true meaning of friendship and how to treat friends. For more great ideas on the friendship theme, check out Gingerbread Man Unit: A Lesson on Making Friends by Laurie Patsalides. With all of these ideas, you are sure to have a class full of friendship!