National Bullying Prevention Month: An Activity to Promote Friendships

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a nationwide movement to raise awareness on the (unfortunately) widespread topic of bullying. Today, we’re sharing an activity from The Kindness Curriculum by Judith Anne Rice, a resource filled with activities designed to help children develop compassion for others. It aims to prevent bullying before it starts by teaching young children about positive, pro-social values in a peaceful and supporting classroom community. The activities provide simple, yet powerful, lessons that foster love, feelings and empathy, gentleness, self-control, respect, friendship, and conflict resolution. The Kindness Curriculum, Second Edition, is coming soon — watch for it in Spring 2013.

Though bullying is not as prevalent in early childhood as it is in later years, the preschool years are a good time to teach children about loving values, which constitute the building blocks for positive character development. Activities that reinforce positive behavior — such as this activity, which promotes friendship — can serve as preemptive strikes against bullying.

Friendships offer children companionship and fun. They provide opportunities to communicate and compromise, and create independence. Children’s lives are enriched through the support and kindness they give and receive. Although friendships during early childhood are usually temporary and friends are whomever the child happens to be playing with, the important goal at this stage is that they learn it is rewarding to have friends.

Ask the children to form two circles, one inside the other, with the children facing one another. While singing a verse from the following tune, the children shake hands with the children they are facing. After each verse, the inner circle should rotate so that new shaking partners are formed. With younger preschoolers, allow them to randomly choose their own shaking partners after each verse, instead of using the rotating circle.

To the tune of “London Bridge is Falling Down” or “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush”

Shake your hand with someone new, (shake hands)

How do you do?

How are you?

Shake your hand with someone new,

How do you do?

(Rotate circle)

Shake your hand with someone new, (shake hands)

How do you do?

How dee do!

Shake your hand with someone new,

Who are you?

(Rotate circle)

Shake your hand with someone new, (shake hands)

Let’s go play.

Have a nice day.

Shake your hand with someone new,

Let’s go play.

Want more activities like this? Check out The Kindness Curriculum by Judith Anne Rice. It is filled with group activities to create an atmosphere of acceptance, empowerment, and love in which children can seek out the goodness in themselves and each other. (And watch for The Kindness Curriculum, Second Edition, coming Spring 2013!)

Tell us: What acts of kindness have you seen among children lately? What do you do to prevent or respond to bullying in your classroom?

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3 Responses to National Bullying Prevention Month: An Activity to Promote Friendships

  1. My son recently told me that his friend was being pushed out of the lunch line so he told the bully to stop it, to which the bully responded, “Shut UP. Chase.” Chase said, “Hey, I’m an american citizen.” Another boy standing by said to the bully, “No you shut up!” It was great the way they stood up for each other.

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