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New friends

To help pupils recognize the skills needed to make new friends (SEAL theme 6: Relationships).

by Jill Fuller

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To help pupils recognize the skills needed to make new friends (SEAL theme 6: Relationships).

Preparation and materials

  • Prepare a situation from your own experience when you have been a stranger and a ‘new face’ in an established community. Make sure you can describe it vividly and be ready to explore the feelings around the situation and the choices about behaviour (see section 1).

Assembly

  1. Share with pupils a situation when you have been a stranger, perhaps at a party or a meeting. Describe the scene: people all talking with one another, appearing to know one another, sharing jokes and laughter. Some people are already playing a game of cards, or tackling some work together, while you are standing alone, observing – what they are wearing, how they are behaving – and feeling ‘out of it’.

    Ask the children how they would have felt in the situation: awkward, afraid, nervous, left out, excluded, uncertain, ignored, angry, excited, worried that the laughter is directed at you.
  2. Ask the children to think what might happen next. What advice would they give you?

    Discuss what you might do. Leave? Sit in a corner alone? Stand at the edge of a group and hope someone will notice you? Approach a group and wait for a good moment to introduce yourself and ask if you can join them? Push into a group and start talking at once?
  3. Now ask the children to imagine that they are among the guests already in the room. When they notice the newcomer, what will they do? Ask the new person to join their group? Ignore the new person and continue talking with their own friends? Hope the stranger will go away? Expect someone else to talk to the newcomer?
  4. Help the children to identify some of the problems of being new. The other people may have different rules about behaviour, different ways of doing things, different jokes. It may take time to understand this. Some things may need to be explained to prevent misunderstandings.

    Remind them that Jesus, the most important leader for Christians, showed by the way he lived that caring and accepting others is important. He wanted to create a community of friends. He gave a command: ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’ (John 15.12).

Time for reflection

At the beginning of a new term there may be many new faces in our community. In a moment of quiet, let us reflect together on how we can each care for one another and help one another to make friends. (Pause)

Prayer
Dear God,
Jesus showed us the importance of looking after our friends.
He welcomed lots of new people
and helped them to get to know and learn from one another.
At the start of this new school year,
please help us to be friendly and helpful to everyone.
Amen.

Song/music

'When I needed a neighbour’ (Come and Praise, 65)

Publication date: September 2011   (Vol.13 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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