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The Importance of Friendship

At Tanglin, we provide opportunities for building positive relationships throughout the school and encourage children to collaborate with one another - not just in the classroom but everywhere around our community and beyond. This has always been one of our top priorities and never more so than now as we move on from the pandemic and its restrictions, and back to ‘normal’.

Griff’s Great Choices
Within the Infant School, it has been delightful to see children working together in pairs, small groups, and whole classes, with ‘bubbles’ hopefully a thing of the past. Teachers plan activities to promote dialogue amongst children (and adults), leading to excitement and a sense of purpose in their learning. This also builds key friendship skills, such as speaking, listening, taking turns, reasoning, negotiating, and fairness. Griff’s Great Choices is a consistent conflict resolution tool that has been 
implemented to support children when there is a disagreement and to build resilience.

Learner Profile
These skills, and more, are also embedded through our Learner Profile characteristics within the school. Beginning in Nursery, children are introduced to the vocabulary of these characteristics, but more importantly, the values and meaning behind words such as Caring, Risk-Taker, and Principled are taught throughout all the children’s school experiences. This is built upon further in Reception and by Year 1, children will be familiar with all ten of the Learner Profile characteristics, which are displayed and celebrated. 

Buddy System
When a child joins Tanglin, they are paired with buddies within the class. These children enthusiastically take on the responsibility 
of ensuring that their new classmate can access resources, navigate their surroundings, and has a friendly person to play with or talk to. We also consider travel arrangements when selecting buddies, to make the transition to or from school as smooth as possible. 
While class teachers will have a daily check-in with new children, and there are surveys that happen throughout the year, after two weeks of being in school, children will meet with our Head of Lifeskills to discuss how they are finding Tanglin. This provides teachers with a clear insight into how children are feeling, but also gives the school an opportunity to review and if necessary, amend strategies or support. Our Head of Lifeskills, Mrs Laura Holmes, finds it a joy to chat with all children across the Infant School. Here are some highlights from this term’s ‘settling in meeting’ in the words of our new children:

“We go to the playground and play lots of different things. I have lots of friends already.” 

“I play with all of the friends in class.” 

“They showed me how to go on the iPad and now we play together.’ 

“I sit with different people and we all like each other, even if they are not my very best friends, everyone is nice.”

“The teacher leads some fun games in the playground and I like to join in with them.” 

Making Memories Through Games
That final comment relates to a change that has been implemented in response to the impact of COVID restrictions on playtimes. During COVID children needed to stay in their small bubbles. Once restrictions were lifted the children did not have experience playing in or leading large games; they were finding it a challenge to participate and collaborate with one another. Facilitating and maintaining friendships requires scaffolding and this is one way that it can happen outside of the classroom, while similar circle time activities and lessons take place within learning base units. Children are making memories as they play alongside one another whilst building positive, secure friendships.  

The importance of friendship cannot be overestimated. With activities, strategies, and pastoral support in place to nurture friendships, the Infant School will always put the best interest of each child at the very forefront of decision-making and action planning. A happy learner is a motivated learner. 

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