FRIENDS Program in B.C. Schools
FRIENDS is an evidence-based anxiety prevention and resiliency-building program that has been offered in BC schools since 2004. Developed in Australia, this social and emotional learning program uses cognitive behavioural strategies to help young people manage anxiety now and later in life.
In BC, FRIENDS is implemented as a preventative program that focuses on increasing the emotional health of all children in a classroom. It is facilitated by classroom teachers or school counselors using hands-on, peer-supported learning.
There are 10+ sessions that address emotional awareness, relaxation, problem solving, self-management, goal setting, interpersonal communication, support networks, and more. Optional take-home activities reinforce FRIENDS concepts outside of school.
FRIENDS aligns with B.C. curriculum, providing teachers with a valuable framework for addressing thinking, communication and personal and social competencies.
It is available to students at three developmentally significant stages: grades K-1 (Fun FRIENDS), 4-5 (FRIENDS for Life), and 6-7 (My FRIENDS Youth). All three program levels promote resilience by providing students with the tools to manage difficult situations and stress:
Fun FRIENDS (Kindergarten and Grade 1) is a 12-week play-based curriculum that introduces young children to ideas about feelings, how to face fears, relax, solve problems, and set goals.
FRIENDS for Life (Grade 4 and 5) provides children with hands-on experience exploring feelings, communication, relaxation, self-talk, problem solving, goal setting and being a good friend.
My FRIENDS Youth (Grade 6 and 7) focuses on self-awareness, communication skills, conflict resolution and character development through individual, small and large group activities.
Teacher Training & Resources
Completion of a one-day training session is required in order to use the program. Training is available to teachers, school counsellors and other educators who work in B.C. schools and are committed to delivering FRIENDS to all students in the classroom – so that everyone can benefit.
Training sessions, program materials and student workbooks are provided at no cost.
Registration: Speak to your school/district liaison about FRIENDS training and how to register. If you do not know the name of your liaison, please email BC FRIENDS.
Every B.C. school district and participating independent school has a FRIENDS liaison who works closely with the BC FRIENDS team and can help you:
- Request, host and coordinate training sessions
- Order and distribute workbooks for trained teachers.
Contact your school district's FRIENDS liaison to learn more about the program locally. If you don’t know the name of your liaison, or would like to know more about the role of a liaison, email BC FRIENDS.