It is a natural and instinctive process for children to seek out friendship as youngsters, when left to themselves. Occasionally, however, it can also be a challenging experience for some and joining a new holiday club can stir a few worries. At Indigo, we believe that a little social nurturing can go a long way towards their interpersonal development and that friendship is not only good for their self confidence, but also for their soul.
In a supportive environment, forming friendships can provide enormous benefits for kids. Discovering friendship groups can provide assistance in their emotional and social development and building friendships allows children to grow empathetically and compassionately. Enjoying time with friends provides an all round sense of positive mental health, happiness and self-worth, whilst engaging with friends is known to lower levels of stress. Exploring life with friends also enhances their communication skills and can help strengthen positive behaviour. Meeting new people can be a daunting experience for many children and overcoming the wall of shyness can feel too tall an order for some. There are many ways that Indigo Arts & Crafts Holiday Club helps children embrace new faces and interactive situations.
First and foremost, we always encourage kindness and co-operation within the working team, which ensures the best example for the children to learn from and emulate. Our team will always show words of encouragement and praise to the children when they display kind behaviour. We have also created a setting for the children to acknowledge this amongst themselves, within the group. One of our established and regular recognition features of the day includes our ‘Mindfulness Raffle’. Children get the chance to nominate one another for their acts of kindness, no matter how seemingly small, encouraging a self-awareness in their interaction with others and vice versa. When new children arrive at holiday club, we ‘buddy’ them with a child or small group of children of a similar age who come regularly and will help nurture them, whilst feeling most vulnerable. With this system in place, we regularly witness new, budding friendships as a result!
We have a whole selection of creative tools and materials, which we use in a variety of activities. Inevitably, this involves the sharing of items as well as working together in mixed-age teams during activities, giving children the chance to take turns, learn about friendly collaboration through sharing and assist or learn from others. It’s all about working together at Indigo and our creative activities are frequently geared towards interactive, co-operative fun. We embrace ‘healthy competition’ in group activities, in a way that inspires the children to work together towards a common goal. Our Kitchen Corner activities are a great example of working collaboratively, where the older children are tasked with the important role of ‘team leader’ where they allocate between their little group, who is doing what (eg. measuring the ingredients, whisking the mix, shaping the dough). It never ceases to amaze me not only how well they step up their social skills when involved in such tasks but also how much pride they take in leading their team, harmoniously.
Free play and role play
When the children are outside during their free play, you will often see them escape to their own worlds, devising characters and scenarios together. Watching their imaginations in full swing, naturally sets the scene for them to act out their stories and with it, explore their social bonding.
Kids will be Kids
Friendships often become stronger when realising their problems were solved together. There may inevitably be conflict between children but when this occurs, we allow a certain amount of space and encourage them to resolve their disputes between themselves in a calm and respectful manner, whenever possible. However, this is a very fine line and with Indigo maintaining a zero bullying policy, we will always step in when necessary and help resolve any problems in the most positive way possible. We’ve all been told ‘manners cost nothing’ and with this free nugget of information in mind, we actively encourage and model respect for one another, both towards staff members and children.
Differences and Dynamics – being your own best friend
For many reasons, some children just want to be on their own at times, perhaps having a more introverted personality where they are more comfortable and content in their own company, or just simply needing their own space. Indigo Arts & Crafts respects each child’s needs and requirements and always strive to bring the best out of each child in finding the right social balance, depending on individual interests and wider group cohort. We celebrate each child’s individuality and we understand there will always be differences in personalities. Some may somersault into social interaction, others may take a more gradual shuffle. Either way, we take this into consideration at Indigo, where encouraging the children to embrace friendship, not only with others, but also with themselves.
We look forward to seeing more friendships being made this summer at Holiday Club!