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Age From: 


Age To: 


Delivered To: 

  • Primary teachers and staff


  • Component 2 : Social and emotional learning for students


Target group:
Friendly Kids, Friendly Classrooms is designed for use by teachers and mental health professionals to teach social skills to primary school-aged children.


Friendly Kids, Friendly Classrooms is designed to teach key social skills that are considered to be important for ensuring successful classroom and playground interactions. The principles upon which the program has been developed include:

  • Social skills are related to all aspects of school behaviour
  • All students, not just those with difficulties, benefit from learning social skills
  • Students with disabilities are more successfully integrated into mainstream classrooms when they are taught social skills
  • Confidence comes from self acceptance, successful experiences and taking risks
  • Learning is most effective when it is fun and when students are directly taught how to use social skills and then provided with opportunities to practice what they have learnt
  • It is helpful to always consider ‘Social Skills’ in the classroom and playground


Friendly Kids, Friendly Classrooms encompasses 21 social skills. They are arranged as follows:

Social skills

  • Playing games well - playing fairly, being a good winner, and being a good loser.
  • Being positive - positive tracking and giving and receiving compliments.
  • Taking risks - approaching and joining in, and speaking in front of an audience.
  • Co-operating – negotiating, dealing with fights and arguments, suggesting and persuading (instead of bossing), making decisions in a group, respecting other people’s opinions, sharing, and including others.
  • Being interesting - listening and asking good questions, telling an interesting story and having an interesting conversation.
  • Standing up for yourself - responding to provocation, telling someone to stop annoying you, ignoring someone who is giving you a hard time, saying “No”, and asking an and adult for support.

Happy classrooms, happy children

  • Finding solutions to social problems - the social problem solving strategy and when is it dobbing?
  • Creating a positive and cohesive classroom - developing a positive group feeling, rewards for the whole class, and positive classroom profile.
  • Building self esteem and confidence - being successful, general principles for enhancing self esteem, and controlling body language.
  • The small group approach - organising a games group, the games and rules strategy, and arranging practice opportunities.

The program also contains extra resources that accompany the program content, including games, group tasks and activities. A DVD containing additional strategies and interactive whiteboard resources is expected to be available sometime in 2009, along with a revised edition of Friendly Kids, Friendly Classrooms.

Program Structure / Methods of Delivery: 

The structure of Friendly Kids, Friendly Classrooms is neither fixed nor scripted. There are four different approaches to implementing the program, which are as follows:

  • Whole class model
  • Small group approach
  • Combining the whole class and small group models
  • Mix and match

The teaching strategy for promoting skill mastery in Friendly Kids, Friendly Classrooms involves an initial discussion about the relevance and importance of learning a particular skill, followed by instruction on how to do the particular skill and an opportunity to practice it through role-plays. This method is used for all 21 skills and additional general practise techniques are provided for further reinforcement of learning.

The program manual also provides diagnostic tasks, strategies for solving social problems, ideas for creating a positive and cohesive classroom and strategies for building self-esteem and confidence.

Staff professional learning (PD):
Training sessions can be provided on request by Dr Helen McGrath.


For information about current Program pricing, visit:

Program Specific Audience: 


Structured Sessions: 


Student Assessment Measures: 


Professional Learning: 

  • Professional Learning Available

Professional Learning Compulsory: 


Formal Parent/Carer Component Provided: 

Evidence of Effectiveness

Evidence of Effectiveness Rating: 


Evidence of Effectiveness Description: 

Single study documents positive behavioural outcomes at post-test.

Competency 1 : Self Awareness: 


Competency 3 : Self-management: 


Competency 4 : Responsible decision-making: 


Competency 5 : Relationship skills: 


Identified Theoretical Framework: 


Identified Theoretical Framework Description: 

The program is based on evidence-based research that has demonstrated that the most effective and socially valid method of teaching social skills is to directly teach them (as opposed to using discussion only) and provide naturalistic opportunities to practice them and receive positive feedback whilst doing so.

Survey/Audit Tools Available: 



Barger, T. (2006). The ‘Willy Kids Are Friendly Kids’ Program: One school’s whole-school approach. In H. McGrath & T. Noble, (Eds.), Bullying Solutions: Evidence-based Approaches for Australian Schools. Sydney, Australia: Pearson Education.
McGrath, H. L. (1996). An evaluation of three school-based whole class social skills intervention programs. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
McGrath, H. L. (1998). An overview of prevention and treatment programs for developing positive peer relations. In K. Rigby & P. Slee (Eds). Children’s Peer Relations London: Routledge.
McGrath, H. (2005) Directions in teaching social skills to students with specific EBDs. In Handbook of emotional and behavioural difficulties (pp. 327-352). London, Sage Publications.
McGrath, H. L., & Francey, S. (1988, May). An evaluation of a school-based social skills training program. Paper presented at the Bicentennial conference of the Australian Behaviour Modification Association, Adelaide, Australia.



Helen McGrath and Shona Francey

About the Author(s): 

Dr. Helen McGrath is a former classroom teacher who is currently a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Education at Deakin University in Melbourne. She also has a private psychology practice.

Contact Information: 

To get in contact about the Program, please visit the Contact Us section of the website at: