Friends for Life Program in 5th Class
I am writing to give you some information in relation to the Friends for Life program that we will be introducing to the children in 5th class next week in school.
The Friends for Life program is an initiative introduced to Irish schools by the National Educational Psychology Service. The program is designed for use with students in a school-based setting and is run by teachers who are trained in the Friends for Life program. The program is taught as part of the SPHE program. The aim of the program is to help young people aged 9-13 years to develop skills for emotional resilience and wellbeing.
This is a new Department of Education initiative, there is limited availability for in-service for teachers in Friends for Life program. Our school is extremely fortunate to have teachers trained as ‘Friends for Life’ facilitators and they will deliver the Friends for Life program to all 5th classes, once weekly, for the next ten school weeks.
What is Friends for Life?
The Friends for Life program is an evidence-based, anxiety-prevention and resiliency building program, taught to children from 9-13 years.
Dr. Paula Barrett, founder of the Pathways Health and Research Centre in Brisbane, Australia, developed the Friends for Life program and it is now used in schools in over 20 countries.
This year’s program will be in the classroom over 10 sessions, and may also be integrated into various parts of the curricula.
It is a social emotional learning program, where students learn life skills to cope with challenges now and in the future. Students identify feelings, explore ways to relax, build strategies to break down challenges/goals into manageable steps, build positive support structures and more.
Friends for Life has a parent component, where parents are encouraged to reinforce FRIENDS skills by engaging in the home activities with their children.
Friends for Life has been recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an effective intervention for children that reduces the risk of anxiety disorders and builds resilience in children.
We are looking forward to implementing this program with 5th class in our school. It gives us a very real opportunity to promote important personal development concepts with our pupils, skills such as self-esteem, problem solving, self-expression, and building positive relationships with peers and adults. These very important skills will assist their development not only as children, but as they grow as young adults.
Thank you for your ongoing support,
1st December, 2021