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Embracing the Pedagogy of Friendship for Creative Role Play and Relationships

Carter and Nutbrown, in their research in 2016, asked what friendship meant to a group of 5- to 7-year-olds and how in turn, teachers can apply the features of the Pedagogy of Friendship for creative role play and relationships in their school.

  1. Building practitioner/teacher knowledge so that specific rules, routines, concerns and practices within children’s peer culture are made apparent, spending time observing and listening to friendship experience;
  2. Valuing and appreciating children’s friendship because of its significance to children and how this may impact on children’s social and emotional development and ultimately their cognitive development;
  3.  Recognition of children’s agency in friendship, where children are provided with opportunities for time and space to establish and nurture their friendships without adult intervention wherever this is safe to do so.

The challenges children encounter in developing role play and relationships.

The environment…

The opportunities for children to participate in spontaneous play outside in their neighbourhoods have diminished. This situation makes early years settings so important in helping children develop and nurture friendships for well-being.

Adults…

It is important for practitioners to look at their role as Sigrid Brogaard-Clausen and Sue Robson created a questionnaire for 155 parents/carers and 285 practitioners in England. The data they received, showed that the prioritisation of friendships between young children was low. This suggests that adults and children have different priorities and raised questions about how friendships are viewed by adults.

Question… What is your ‘Pedagogy of Friendship’ in your setting?

The Importance of Role Play in Early Childhood Development.

Introducing role-play and movement is a wonderful way of helping them to express and understand emotions. We all want our little ones to feel compassion, empathy and belonging and be able to express their own emotions and strengthen their personal agency.

As movement is the universal language of expression, this makes role-play the perfect way of introducing those feelings and emotions. We need to understand and feel our own emotions to be able to develop empathy and compassion which is vital for friendship.

Movement and role-play are integral to your little ones’ development as they create opportunities for them to work in a group by sharing and taking turns. Role-play also encourages teamwork which helps them to build positive relationships with their peers. When they are spending time creating or engaging in messy play, they are building relationships and developing agency.

Importantly, role play and relationships are nurtured as children engage in imaginative scenarios, identifying important figures in their lives.

Why not engage your little ones in the 'Emotion Dino' role-play activity? It provides countless opportunities to enhance speech, language, and communication skills crucial for building role play and relationships.

Activity!

Preparation: print out the coloured dinosaurs and cut out and stick them on cards for your little ones to use.

Instructions

Hold up the red dinosaur, and tell the children that red is for showing anger. Ask the child: “Can you show me angry?” (Make angry faces, clench your fists and stomp around the room).

Hold up the green dinosaur, and tell the children that green is for showing happiness. Ask the child: “Can you show me happy?” (Make smiley faces, hop, skip and twirl around the room).

Hold up the blue dinosaur, and tell the children that blue is for showing sadness. Ask the child: “Can you show me sad?” (Put your head down, with a sad face, and walk slowly around the room).

References:

Sigrid Brogaard-Clausen & Sue Robson (2019) “Friendships for well-being?: parents’ and practitioners’ positioning of young children’s friendships in the evaluation of well-being factors”. International Journal of Early Years Education, 27:4, 345-359, DOI: 10.1080/09669760.2019.1629881

Carter, C. and Nutbrown, C. (2016)” A Pedagogy of Friendship: young children’s friendships and how schools can support them”. International Journal of Early Years Education. pp. 1-19. ISSN 0966-9760

Discover how you can introduce further pedagogical approaches in your setting by watching our FREE webinar!

 

About the author:

Gina is a dynamic and accomplished educator with a rich background in movement and dance. Initially trained in ballet, she has dedicated the past 27 years to imparting her passion for movement and dance across various educational settings, ranging from mainstream to early years and SEND environments, as well as esteemed dance schools.

About the author:

Gina is a dynamic and accomplished educator with a rich background in movement and dance. Initially trained in ballet, she has dedicated the past 27 years to imparting her passion for movement and dance across various educational settings, ranging from mainstream to early years and SEND environments, as well as esteemed dance schools.

About the author:

Gina is a dynamic and accomplished educator with a rich background in movement and dance. Initially trained in ballet, she has dedicated the past 27 years to imparting her passion for movement and dance across various educational settings, ranging from mainstream to early years and SEND environments, as well as esteemed dance schools.

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