Fun FRIENDS Program

For children ages 4-7

The Fun FRIENDS Program was developed by Dr Paula Barrett to help guide the social and emotional development of children aged 4 to 7 by using fun, play-based group activities. Fun FRIENDS teaches skills that will nurture a child’s development and resilience during these crucial early years, giving them the ability to excel and smoothly transition into school life.

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After undertaking Fun FRIENDS, parents and teachers may notice the following changes in a child:

  • Improved confidence
  • Increased ability to cope with stress
  • Increased ability to cope with fear
  • Enhanced social skills
  • Improved ability to communicate better with adults
  • Boosted self esteem
  • Increased happiness and enthusiasm

The secret to the Fun FRIENDS Program is the group activities that help children to learn new skills. There are a number of different evidence-based play-focused activities, which help teach the following skills to participants in a way that can be easily grasped, understood and used in everyday life:

  • Smiling and making eye contact when communicating
  • Speaking with a brave and confident voice
  • Talking about and understanding feelings in themselves and others (empathy development)
  • Helping other people including family, peers and teachers
  • Self awareness of body clues, e.g. tense means stressed, butterflies means nervous
  • Relaxation techniques to relax the body and mind during stressful situations
  • Approaching groups of peers and making friends
  • Trying new things, and different approaches to problem solving
  • Identifying negative thoughts and turning them into positive thoughts

The structure of the Fun FRIENDS Program is a 5-session course. Each session takes between 2-2.5 hours, depending on the activities chosen by the facilitator. To help participants remember the FRIENDS concepts, and to bring structure to the sessions, we use the following FRIENDS acronym:

  • Feelings (talk about your feelings and care about other people’s feelings)
  • Relax (do “milkshake” breathing, have some quiet time)
  • Ican try! (we can all try our best)
  • Encourage (step plans to happy home)
  • Nurture (quality time together doing fun activities)
  • Don’t forget – be brave! (practice skills everyday with friends /family)
  • Stay happy

If you would like to become a Licensed Partner or for any other enquiry, please contact licensing@friendsresilience.org