I'll Get By With A Little Help From My Friends
It is currently a very exciting time at Woodland Outdoor Kindergartens. Due to the many new members we’ve had starting over the last couple of months, relationships and bonds are beginning to be formed amongst children. Therefore, I thought I’d use this blog entry to explore the concept of friendships. The process of making friends is very important for children in the early years. Not only does it enhance wellbeing, but friendships with peers can contribute to a child’s social development.
I’ll start by asking the question: how do children make friends? According to an article in Psychology Today , early years children have less social inhibitions and sense of etiquette than adults ,and are thus predisposed to ask direct questions such as: “Will you be my friend?” (Sometimes I think us adults could learn a thing or two from our younger counterparts!) However, Psychology Today states that in order to approach their peers, children need to first obtain a sense of self confidence. Therefore, it is imperative that adults take lots of action to develop children’s self-esteem, this can be achieved through communication, affection and positive re-enforcement.
Lets move on to look at how friendship can influence a child’s development. An article in the Huffington Post cites psychotherapist Rachel Melville Thomas, who has the following to say about early years friendships: “Friendship is a really important stage in a child’s development because they are turning their focus to the outside world; widening their circle from those special few like parents and grandparents.” Thomas’ comments got me thinking about how the formation of friendships can aid a child’s development in line with Brofenbrenner’s theory of ecological development. Brofenbrenner is a Swiss educationalist whom I very much admired at university. His model of ecological development states that a child’s development is shaped by their interactions with different environments and the people within them. He categorised five different environments of “ecosystems” that have significant influence on a child’s development. By making friends, children are expanding their focus from their immediate environment of the home and family and are understanding more about other and therefore other peoples environments that they are not directly involved in. This shows how the process of making friends is not only beneficial for a child’s happiness but also their development.
That’s all for this week guys! I hope I have communicated to you the positive effects that friendship can bring (not that you needed persuading in the first place!)
Links and Further Reading
Huffington Post Article :/www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/lessons-for-life-how-toddlers-make-friends Psychology Today: www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/growing-friendships
Book: The Ecology of Human Development By Urie BRONFENBRENNER