Over the recent years, the Junior School at Barker College has developed a partnership with URSTRONG.
The common language of friendships, and the wealth of teaching and learning resources, provides the Junior School teachers with with a scope and sequence of target material to support the children as they build connections, explore skills, and engage in learning to prepare them to make and maintain healthy relationships.
Friendships contribute significantly to the development of social skills, being sensitive to another’s viewpoints, learning the rules of conversation, and age-appropriate behaviours, all of which are key to seeing children learn how to make and maintain healthy relationships. Friendships enable children to learn about themselves and develop their identities. As children mature, friends can help reduce stress and navigate challenging developmental experiences during 2023 (Paul Schwartz PhD, 2019).
The Junior School has employed the customised URSTRONG Friendship Journal for every student from Pre-K to Year 6 at the Hornsby Campus, Darkinjung Barker, and Ngarralingayil Barker. The student journal has provided a companion for teaching Friendology 101 with daily friendship skills and language references to support our commitment to creating a culture of kindness and equipping the children.
During 2023, The Junior School Friendship Journal for the younger years helps the children learn core concepts in a fun and playful way. Reflecting the concepts taught in Friendology, students apply friendship skills, reinforcing the use of language and tools taught in the classroom. For older students, social-emotional learning meets executive functioning, providing students with opportunities to reflect on the concepts taught in Friendology while using the Friendship Journal as a tool for communication and personal organisation.
With alignment to the Barker College values, the language of Thriving at Barker and the International Baccalaureate Primary Years learner profile attributes, the practical skills and language within the journal, provide a connection between school and home, in doing so connecting the circles of care for the children. The Junior School Friendship Journal has become a valuable tool in supporting learning communities for our students and teachers alike.
Written by: Martin Conway
Barker College, Junior School Director of Students
As Published in The Barker, Issue 141, Summer 2023, Page 16
Featured: Dana Kerford, Founder, with Martin Conway and students during a Day of Friendship with the students in March 2022. Dana will be visiting Barker College again in February 2024!