Children thrive in inclusive settings where each child is an important part of the community. When differences are celebrated
and similarities discovered, children learn to value themselves, appreciate their peers, and develop meaningful and significant relationships with one another.
Often the preschool years mark a child’s introduction to the world of peers and peer relationships. Research supports the notion that children benefit in many ways from positive peer interactions. In early childhood programs, friendships foster a sense of connection and security and build self-esteem and self-confidence, helping young children adapt more readily to the preschool setting.
For this reason, we try to introduce projects that foster these connections. Using pipe cleaners and beads, we created friendship bracelets, and then handed them out to our friends. If one child already had a bracelet from a friend, we kept looking to find another one! The overarching goal was to ensure that all students were included. Activities such as these provide important opportunities for children to learn and develop compassion, sharing, and a sense of community.