Week 2 – Chapter 1

By September 24, 2015 January 28th, 2016 Parents

Week 2-11

Welcome

Welcome to Week Two of The Best of Friends program! We continue with Chapter 1 this week. This week’s activities are designed to evoke discussions about unique personal characteristics and how they impact on our decisions about friends and ourselves.

Chapter One Plot:

Theo’s arrival in the school setting causes a rift between some of the kids during a game of soccer, which quickly escalates without reason. Fortunately, Coco finds a solution to even out the number of players, as well as the dynamic of the group; calming tensions and restoring the peace.

How to use the stories with your child at home:

  • Revise this story together with your child;
  • Discuss your own experiences in relation to similar events;
  • Ask questions about how your child would resolve some of the events described in the story;
  • Explore the emotions each participant experiences with a focus on empathy and what each emotion ‘looks’ and ‘feels’ like.

The Activities

The activities in this chapter include pen & paper, art and craft, and role play activities, concluding with a Fieldwork activity to be done at home in the participant’s own time.

Similarities and Differences

Understanding ourselves and others is fundamental for healthy human relationships. By exploring our own unique qualities and how we differ to others, it is possible to appreciate diversity in our own communities. A group discussion provides an opportunity to listen to other perspectives and to learn about what other unique qualities and interests are shared by same-aged peers. The following activities are designed to encourage self-awareness and peer acceptance as participants learn to value different aspect of themselves and others.

The main purpose of this activity is to encourage participants to think about the value of diversity and its importance in the school community. By asking participants to consider their own unique characteristics, facilitators can next introduce an appreciation of the diversity and similarities within the group.

The goals for participants completing this activity are:

  • to record and appreciate unique characteristics about themselves.
  • to learn more about their peers likes, dislikes, skills and experiences.
  • to identify shared interests and discover unique facts about their peers.
  • to clarify how they may be similar or different to peers inside or outside the group.
  • to brainstorm the advantages of similarities and differences in the school setting.

Fingerprints: A Closer Look

This activity introduces the science behind one of our unique physical features – fingerprints. Participants and facilitators use ink or paint to stamp their fingerprints in the designated spots in each other’s workbooks. This activity requires respect, turn-taking and cooperation between participants as workbooks are personalised and connections are potentially strengthened. This practical activity leads to a listening exercise whereby the facilitator reads a brief fact sheet about human genetics.

The purpose of this activity is to complete practical tasks which require effective communication and collaboration between participants. Facilitators are encouraged to invite movement around the room, as participants seek out peers and ask them to stamp their fingerprints into their workbook and vice versa. This activity gives facilitators the opportunity to observe the different range of social skills in the room and give feedback as required. This may include verbal praise for being patient or polite. Participants will experience first-hand the effect of cooperative or uncooperative behaviour as they attempt to work together to complete this activity.

The goals for participants completing this activity are:

  • to test out the claim that all fingerprints are unique.
  • to improve emotional regulation skills.
  • to practise to and fro conversations while keeping to task.
  • try new conversation skills and techniques in a fast paced format.
  • approach new peers with requests and respond appropriately to positive and negative responses.
  • to use eye contact before and during social engagement.
  • to undertake and persist with tasks.

Fieldwork: Interview and Record

Fieldwork activities aim to help participants to engage their parents and communities in a series of social challenges to assist in the generalisation of key skills developed during the program. Fieldwork activities are an effective way for parents to normalise the difficulties most of us experience when practising new or emerging social-emotional skills.
The first field work activity encourages participants to practise using eye contact and greeting others for the purpose of obtaining and recording information about other familiar people, such as a friend, grandparent or neighbour.

The purpose of this activity is to give participants the opportunity to compare their own experiences of meeting someone new with others in their family or community. This helps to normalise feeling shy, excited or anxious in the company of others. Conducting an interview is a structured method of gathering information on the topic of interest.

The goals for participants completing this activity are:

  • to try their new skills in a new social situation and environment.
  • to improve their planning skills by preparing for the activity.
  • to experience how it feels like to act on a ‘new role’ by putting on a reporter persona.  
  • to learn from members of family or community.
  • to normalise challenges and difficulties around social encounters.
  • to expand their repertoire of social skills strategies while expanding on social support networks.

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