Black Springs Public School

Truth, Honour, Beauty

Telephone02 6335 8155

Friends program

Fun friends program

Ages 4 - 7

The Fun FRIENDS Program helps guide the social and emotional development of children aged 4 to 7 by using fun, play-based group activities.  Developed by Dr Paula Barrett, Fun FRIENDS teaches skills that will nurture a child's development during these crucial early years, giving them the ability to excel and smoothly transition into school life.  After undertaking Fun FRIENDS parents and teachers notice the following changes in a child:

  • Increased confidence
  • More able to cope with stress
  • More able to cope with fear
  • Enhanced social skills
  • Able to communicate better with adults
  • Boosted self esteem
  • Generally happier and more enthusiastic

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

  • 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 like family, peers and teachers
  • Understanding their body clues e.g. tense means stressed, butterflies means nervous
  • Mindfulness and relaxation techniques to relax their bodies and minds in stressful situations
  • Approaching groups of peers and making friends
  • Trying new things and approaches to problem solving
  • Identifying negative thoughts and turning them into positive thoughts

Fun FRIENDS uses the FRIENDS acronym to remember the concepts they learn:

  • Feelings (talk about your feelings and care about other people's feelings)
  • Relax (do 'milkshake' breathing, have some quiet time)
  • I can 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 (practise skills every day with friends/family)
  • Stay happy

Friends for life

Ages 8 - 11

FRIENDS For Life is a social skills and resilience building program that is recognised by the World Health Organisation for over 12 years of comprehensive research as an effective means to prevent anxiety for children aged 8 - 11.

Anxiety is a common disorder affective over 20% of children in this age group.  If left unattended anxiety can severely impact a child's development which then creates problems later in life.  Anxiety can cause constant worry about things close to a  child such as homework, attending school camp and even non-local events that appear on the news such as natural disasters or pandemics.  This anxiety can detract from learning and have severe impact on development.

Also developed by Dr Paula Barrett, FRIENDS For Life is proven to reduce anxiety and give participants the tools they need to cope in these stressful and challenging situations.  Further to anxiety treatment, FRIENDS For Life also improves a participant's social skills, ability to focus, confidence, mindfulness and relaxation techniques and the ability to relax and regulate emotions.

FRIENDS For Life teaches participants to cope with their feelings and the feelings of others by training them to think more positively and to relax and regulate their bodies.  Dr Paula Barrett's FRIENDS for Life also teaches confidence and ways to tackle problems which help build self esteem as participants start to solve problems they would have previously shied away from.  More importantly, FRIENDS For Life enables participants to be happy, smile and be brave which helps them easily transition to their teenage years.