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The Making Friends Program

$69.08  Softcover
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Paddy C Favazza, Michaelene M Ostrosky, Chryso Mouzourou,

  • The Making Friends Program
  • The Making Friends Program
    This field-tested, research-based program is a toolbox of adaptable, practical strategies to fit into your regular school day.

152 pages
Interest Age: 4 to 8
ISBN: 9781598579215

Bullying prevention starts with helping young children understand and accept diversity—the earlier the better. That's why your school team needs this ready-to-use resource, a simple, fun, and effective way to promote social acceptance in the critical early years of attitude development.

Perfect for K–2 classrooms, this book presents the field-tested, research-based Making Friends program, a toolbox of adaptable, practical strategies that fit right into your regular school day. You'll help students respect and accept each other's differences through three methods: 1) reading diversity-themed stories and conducting brief whole-class discussions; 2) forming small learning groups that encourage children from diverse backgrounds to play and interact; and 3) sharing the storybooks you read with families so they can continue discussions at home.

This proven program will boost students' social and academic skills as you create a welcoming, inclusive, and culturally responsive classroom (aligned with US DEC/NAEYC recommended practices and English Language Arts Common Core State Standard).

Use this program to:

  • enrich your existing classroom activities—circle time, class discussion, cooperative play—with important lessons on social acceptance
  • strengthen students' literacy skills while they learn to accept and celebrate differences
  • support friendships among children of diverse abilities, backgrounds, and family structures
  • lay the groundwork for bully-free school environments
  • choose books, toys, and other materials that reflect our diverse world and give young children a sense of belonging
  • implement a universal design for learning (UDL) approach to address the needs of diverse learners
  • "think on your feet" to work lessons on acceptance into small teachable moments and everyday conversations
  • increase the home-school connection with strategies parents can use with their children
  • strengthen understanding of how acceptance is developed through reflective activities for teachers and school-wide teams

Practical materials: The book includes:

  • a complete package of reproducible
  • adaptable materials for implementing the Making Friends program, including a sample activity schedule, discussion guides, and forms to send home with families.
  • step-by-step directions on working the activities into your school day
  • extensive lists of diversity resources
  • vignettes that model positive interactions, and more.

Table of Contents

About the Authors

About the Contributors


Sam Odom



  1. The Making Friends Program
    • Background Research
    • Philosophy
    • Indicators of Quality Inclusion
    • Audience
    • Program Overview
  2. Attitudes
    • What is an Attitude?
    • How Are Attitudes Formed?
    • When Do Attitudes About Human Differences Begin?
    • What Are the Implications for Practice?
  3. Reflective Exercises
    • The Attitude Exercise
    • Culture as a Context for Attitude Development
    • Remember Who You Are
    • Unpack Your Perceptions about Diversity
    • Diversity in School Environments
    • Vignettes: Strategies for Increasing Understanding of Diversity
    • Professional Development
    • Appendix 3.1 Attitude Exercise
    • Appendix 3.2 Remember Who You Are Exercise
    • Appendix 3.3 Unpack your Perceptions Exercise
    • Appendix 3.4 Diversity in School Environments Exercise
  4. Setting up the MAKING FRIENDS Program
    • What is Universal Design for Learning?
    • School Literacy Component
    • Cooperative Learning Component
    • Home Literacy Component
    • Looking Back, Looking Ahead
    • Appendix 4.1 Book Selection Criteria
    • Appendix 4.2 Bookmark Discussion Guide
    • Appendix 4.3 Toys and Materials Selection Criteria
    • Appendix 4.4 Home Communication Letter
    • Appendix 4.5 Home Communication Letter in Spanish
    • Appendix 4.6 Parent and Child Reading Record
    • Appendix 4.7 Parent and Child Reading Record in Spanish
  5. Resources for the School and Home Environment
    • Importance of a Resource-Rich Environment
    • Resources for Making Friends
    • Tips for Success
    • Troubles Shooting for Implementation Challenges
    • Looking Forward
    • Appendix 5.1 Books about Diversity: A List of Recommendations for Home and Classroom Use
    • Appendix 5.2 Web Resources for Book Collections that Represent Diversity
    • Appendix 5.3 Toys and materials that Depict Children from Diverse Backgrounds
    • Appendix 5.4 Materials Depicting Diverse Communication
    • Appendix 5.5 Web Resources for Classroom Materials that Reflect Diversity or Represent Differences



"Simply stated, no elementary school educational reference collection should be with a copy of The Making Friends Program."
- Julie Summers, Midwest Book Review

"A much-needed text that provides teachers with the knowledge, skills, and resources to create welcoming and socially supportive classroom environments where children of all ability levels feel they belong and have the opportunity to make and sustain friends."
- Gary Siperstein, Director, Center for Social Development and Education

"An important addition to any early childhood teacher’s classroom … [the authors] do a masterful job of explaining the research-based program while including clear guidelines, examples, applications, and resources."
- Bradley Witzel, Professor, Department of Counseling, Leadership and Educational Studies, Winthrop University

"Comprehensive, readable, and useful … integrates theory, research, attitude change, curriculum development, and implementation activities for children and for those who serve and love them."
- Karin Lifter, Professor and Chair, Department of Applied Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston

"A valuable resource for bringing empathy to the classroom … Programs like these are foundational to creating a more compassionate society."
- Shauna Tominey, Associate Research Scientist/Director of Early Childhood Programming, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

"Successfully translate[s] lessons from research to bring teachers a highly engaging and easy to adapt classroom-based program focused on building lasting friendships among students with and without disabilities."
- Rosa Santos, Professor of Special Education, University of Illinois

"A masterpiece ready to transform diverse early childhood settings into more just and effective avenues for social inclusion and educational achievement … truly a toolbox with useful and useable instructions, guidance, and resources."
- Donald Wertlieb, Partnership for Early Childhood Development & Disability Rights (PECDDR), Professor emeritus, Tufts University

"All children belong, and this book provides tested, research-based strategies that help teachers celebrate children’s differences in ways that promote understanding and acceptance and friendships."
- Karen Diamond, Professor Emerita, Purdue University

"Plentiful resources and practical strategies that will help kindergarten and primary grade teachers support meaningful inclusion of each and every child in the classroom. [This] resource should be on every early childhood teacher’s bookshelf!"
- Laurie Dinnebeil, University of Toledo; Editor, Journal of Early Intervention