January 2024 – This year marks a huge milestone for URSTRONG – 15 years of empowering children with friendship skills. URSTRONG first launched its flagship friendship skills curriculum, Friendology, in 2009 at a private school in Calgary, Canada.
Pioneering a global initiative to foster kindness within educational settings, URSTRONG helps schools around the world cultivate a culture of respect and healthy relationships. With its comprehensive whole-school approach, URSTRONG Schools promote the social and emotional wellbeing of students by equipping them with essential friendship skills.
Developed by Canadian educator, Dana Kerford, URSTRONG has seen widespread adoption across schools globally, receiving accolades for its contribution to bullying prevention and the enhancement of the social climate in educational institutions. The robust, one-of-a-kind programming imparts a common language for conflict management and fosters an environment of kindness, which has reached over a million children, parents, and teachers worldwide.
Recognizing the need for holistic social education, URSTRONG’s Friendology curriculum and unique friendship strategy offers age-appropriate video-based lessons, activities, and resources for each grade, ranging from Early Years to Year 8, guiding students through the nuances of forging and maintaining strong friendships. “URSTRONG has not only empowered our students with life skills to foster healthy relationships, but it has also empowered our teachers and parents,” says Daniel Sandral, Head of Junior School at MLC School, Sydney.
Teachers and educators who join the community of URSTRONG Schools participate in in-depth professional development led by “Friendship Experts.” Among these experts is Tyson Greenwood, Director of URSTRONG, who delivers impactful sessions aimed at both students, teachers, and parents – solidifying the program’s whole-school approach.
David Bott, former Associate Director at the Institute of Positive Education and Co-Founder of The Wellbeing Distillery, highlights the curriculum’s effectiveness, saying, “This is one of the best, most impactful practical applications of wellbeing science in schools that we have seen.”
URSTRONG Schools have access to exclusive resources, including the Friendology curriculum, online workshops, assessments, classroom posters, student handbooks, and more. The program’s innovative tools, such as The Friend-o-Meter and the Friend-o-Cycle, help students assess their friendships and resolve conflicts, termed Friendship Fires®, fostering stronger and more resilient relationships.
As part of the organization’s commitment to accessibility, URSTRONG offers a 14-day free trial to schools interested in creating a nurturing environment that teaches and celebrates the importance of friendships. Positive feedback from educators and parents underscores the curriculum’s success in enriching school values and supporting children’s personal growth across cultural and geographic boundaries.
For more information on URSTRONG and to explore the Friendology curriculum, please visit https://urstrong.com/membership/.
Dana Kerford, Founder, facilitates a Day of Friendship (friendship skills workshops) at Chadwick School in California in 2016