1. FRIENDSHIP – What makes a true friend?


Share Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: ‘You have the right to give your opinion, and for adults to listen and take it seriously’ and remind the children of the ground rules:

  • We have the right to an opinion and for it to be listened to and taken seriously.
  • Thumbs up if you want to speak.
  • One person talks at a time.
  • Everyone is valued.
  • Respect each other’s responses.


Explain to the children that today they are going to be talking about friends and what makes a true friend.

Ask them to think for a moment about who they think of as a friend and why they are a friend. Give them time to think about their choice, as a reason will be required!

Explain that you would like them to keep their idea of a friend in their head throughout the session as it may help them share ideas about friendship.

Ask the children to make a choice between having a lion as a friend or a giraffe as a friend. The children will need to be given time to think about their choice as a reason will be required! Explain that there is no right or wrong answer but what is important is the reason for their choice.

In turn ask the children the question:

  • Would you rather have a lion or a giraffe as a friend?

Children respond with such answers as, “I would rather have a giraffe as a friend because they could help me climb trees.”


Ask the children to imagine that one of their friends is having a few problems with friendships and he or she would like some of your ideas to help him / her be a true friend.


Share the story of Dan and Diesel or Catherine and the Lion [search YouTube for these stories], as an initial stimulus. While you share this story, say, “I wonder if you could be thinking about the characters and what makes them want to be friends with each other?

Give time to talk about the characters in the story and then scribe their ideas on a large piece of paper highlighting key words, such as, adventurous, kind, do things together, When Dan is with Diesel he can do anything! Encourage their thinking by prompting them, for example, to compare what it is like when Diesel is separated from Dan…


Ask the pupils to think about the friend they had in their heads at the beginning of the session and to think about this question:

  • What makes a special friend?

Explain to the children that they are now going to share their ideas across the class.

Invite them, one at a time, to give their answer to the question. Clarify the question where needed and help them to build their understanding – agreeing and disagreeing with the ideas they are airing. Encourage them to listen carefully to each other so that they can appreciate other points of view and learn more about what they need to know to answer the question. After everyone has had an opportunity to participate, thank the children for their contributions.  

Finally, ask the children to draw the friend they first thought of at the beginning of the session and write five words that make them a true friend, e.g., kind, thoughtful, adventurous.


Offer some reflections on the session around the idea of the importance of friendship. Point out that we choose our friends for different reasons but that there are a lot of similar qualities that make a true friend. Leave them with a thought:

“Most people seem to like to have friends and it is good to offer friendship to lonely people. I wonder if some people don’t mind not having friends?”

A printable (pdf) version of this session can be found here

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