Friends For Life Program

The FRIENDS for Life program is a standard social-emotional program conducted as part of the Year 4 curriculum. It was one of the many initiatives undertaken as part of our selection and participation in the pilot of KidsMatters, a primary school mental health initiative, now incorporated into many schools across Australia.

The FRIENDS for Life program aims to help children learn to manage feelings and take on life's challenges with a positive and resilient attitude. The program, pioneered by internationally acclaimed researcher and practitioner, Dr Paula Barrett, is also cited by the World Health Organisation as one that "teaches children skills to cope with anxiety more effectively and builds emotional resilience, problem-solving abilities and self-confidence."

The program involves several sessions, to be run in class time, over the course of a term. Included is a brightly-coloured workbook filled with fun and thought-provoking exercises.

Canberra Girls Grammar School (CGGS) counsellor and psychologist, Ms Paula Morelli will conduct the program. Early topics will include an introduction to feelings, the fact that people are different, and the identification of and relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. There will be group activities, class discussions, and some simple homework tasks, such as the student identifying a 'happy time' that they experienced in their family.