Circles of friends

Circles of Friends methodology confirmed the necessity to care for the social inclusion and to develop the approaches supportive of participation of all children.

We realised the importance of ASKING CHILDREN! We ask children because they provide astonishing answers to serve as a guideline for future pedagogical intentions. This manual outlines the experiences of Circles of Friends methodology in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The journey of structured peer support enabled by Circles of Friends methodology begun in BiH through DUGA’s partnership with Inclusive Solutions UK and supported by Open Society Foundation UK back in 2016. Inclusive Solutions trained DUGA’s team and preschool educators and teachers to spread this methodology in BiH.

Social inclusion program continued in 2017-2018 with UNICEF BiH support in 10 primary schools through the project Quality Inclusive Practices.

The purpose of Circles of Friends methodology is to:
• Organise the support network for a child
• Reduce the challenging behaviour
• Empower a child to combat victimisation successfully
• Increase child’s understanding of own behaviour and offer an opportunity for change
• Help a child acquire more friends

The adults have the potential to create the conditions for the acceptance or rejection of a child who is somehow different from the peer group. The classroom if the pool of social connections, it is full of potential friends, and you can contribute to the probability of the friendship happening.
By participating in the Circle of Friends children develop: empathy, problem solving abilities, listening skills, the ability to recognise and express feelings, as well as understanding the feelings-behaviour relationship.

By participating in the trainings, over 200 educators and teachers so far:
• found out more about children at risk from social exclusion;
• acquired various strategies for planned development of peer relationships;
• have better understanding of challenging behaviour of children leading to peer group exclusion;
• are aware of the relationship importance in a life of every child;
• had a go at Circles of Friends methodology as a tool for social inclusion of every child;
• understand the significance of asking children and sharing the responsibility for problem solving with them.

Testimonies:
“I’ll surely apply this methodology in my everyday practice.”
“Thank you for reminding us of the importance of asking children and allowing them to find solutions to challenges.”
“Every school should undergo this training as it is about the important life issues. It does not talk about the grades and school achievements, but about the happiness and joy of every child. vaka škola bi trebala proći ovu obuku, jer govori o životno važnim temama.”

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