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Developing, managing and maintaining friendships or relationships can be a challenging skill for a young person, but these connections can be so beneficial for our social and emotional growth. Across the Junior School our wellbeing programs are important in developing some of the key skills that empower the students in their social interactions and relationships. As a school, these explicit skills are taught through the URStrong program develop by Dana Kerford. This program has been important in providing a common language of friendship for the students in the Junior School. The students learn about the four friendship facts, what makes a healthy friendship and how to work towards a healthy friendship through the values of trust, respect and kindness.

This week I would like to highlight the wonderful resources in the Friendship and Belonging section of SchoolTV. Included in the interviews in this section is one with Karen Young, child and adolescent specialist and founder of the website ‘Hey Sigmund’. Karen has also authored two of my favourite books to share with students, ‘Hey Awesome’ and ‘Hey Warrior’ which focus on celebrating their strengths to overcome worries and anxiety. In this interview, Karen shares the importance of teaching children the skills of friendship.

In discussions with boys across the Junior School, it has been wonderful to have some very open and honest conversations about the challenges they face in their social and emotional learning. I look forward to sharing some further examples of learning from the URStrong program throughout this year.

Ben Storer
Deputy Head of Junior School – Wellbeing and Administration