Team Awesome has spent quite a bit of time recently learning about friendship and how to be a good friend. During interactions with friends, children have the opportunity to practice important socioemotional skills such as cooperation, conflict resolution, emotion regulation, and perspective-taking but none of these things comes easily to a 5 year old who thinks the world is all about them so the skills often have to be modeled and taught repeatedly.
We role-played and discussed what ‘Being a Good Friend’ looks like/ sounds like/ feels like and focused on sharing and caring. One of the activities we did was to read the book "Chrysanthemum" by Kevin Henkes twice. The first time to discuss the specialness of each of our names. The second time we talked about how words can hurt as much as hands. We started the story with a paper heart and every time the children in the story made fun of Chrysanthemum's name, a Team Awesome member would crumple a part of the heart. When the story was finished and the heart was very squished, we debated what should be done to repair the heart. Someone suggested saying "I'm sorry" so we all took turns and smoothed out a section of the disheveled heart. The children began to realize that even saying "I'm sorry" doesn't fully repair the damage made when mean words are said to one another. Words hurt and we must think before saying them because we can never fully fix the harm they cause.
We also used the "Bucket Filler" series by Carol McCloud. These books encourage positive behaviour as children see how very easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation and love on a daily basis. A person can be a bucket filler or a bucket dipper. The way to fill a bucket is to be kind to someone. A person can dip into your bucket by being unkind and then you feel sad- but he feels sad too. He not only dipped into your bucket, but emptied his as well.
Throughout the rest of the year, we will return to these lessons repeatedly, with the ultimate goal being sharing, caring, turn-taking, and peaceful ends to squabbles with limited adult intervention.