How do I know if you are my friend or best friend?

Middle School Transition Group Session Activity

How do I know if you are my friend or best friend?    

Group sessions are in full swing at SEC.  Our middle school transition group is working on learning how to distinguish between an acquaintance, a friend, and a best friend.  In an age where social media and fast paced relationships drive our social culture, learning how to tell the difference is an essential piece to social success.  See how the SEC supports social skill development through structured and practical learning.

Our Middle School Transition Group meets weekly at 10am and is comprised of five 4th and 5th grade boys.  Learning the difference between an acquaintance, friend, and best friend are integral for children this age. Therefore, it is extremely important for them to understand what it means to have a friend and what makes someone a friend. While the boys were able to describe each category accurately, they had difficulty understanding the difference in real life scenarios with their peers.

The first discussion began by reviewing a definition of each of the categories. Each boy was asked to list characteristics of each category while the facilitator wrote each characteristic down. For instance, one of the boys mentioned that an acquaintance is someone that you do not know much about. Ultimately, the main idea that came across for each category is as follows: an acquaintance is someone who they see in school but do not talk to or spend time with outside of school. A friend is someone who they play and talk to in and out of school and that they know well. A best friend is someone who they want to talk to about something exciting in their life, spend a lot of their time with, and know really well.

During the next session, the boys were provided with a worksheet asking them to list three acquaintances, three friends, and three best friends as well as to provide the reasons for why they believed that each individual should be placed in each category. We posted their lists on the board for reference. The boys struggled with this exercise as they were unable to decipher distinct differences between their peers to place them in appropriate categories. Through this activity we helped the boys understand that they were unclear of their relationships.   In essence, this activity was used to explain how a relationship can progress from an acquaintance to a friend or from a friend to a best friend.

We continued the discussion by helping the boys brainstorm and plan what they can do when with their friends or best friends. They all compiled a list of things they could do with the help of the facilitator. For example, with friends they can go to each other’s house or go to a movie together.  By defining and providing real life scenarios, we support the learning process.

Our process: Learning the difference between acquaintance, friend, and best friend

  • We distinguished the differences between each category
  • We helped them group their peers into appropriate headings
  • We continued to discuss how they can support their relationships and encourage them to grow their friendships by providing real life scenarios for activities to do with friends.

Middle School Transition Workshop

The Middle School Transition: how to plan and prepare your child for what comes next

Joint Presentation by Beth Roberts, M.A., LPC and Melissa Bilash, Advocacy & Consulting for Education

Wednesday, March 8, 2017                                                             6:30-7:30pm

The Social Enrichment Center invites you to an evening workshop on planning and preparation for making the elementary to middle school transition, presented by SEC Director Beth Roberts and Melisa Bilash. This one-hour workshop will guide parents and professionals on the ins and outs of what you can do now to prepare for middle school, as well as tips and strategies once they transition.  Transitions can be filled with anticipation and questions about what happens next, let us help navigate you through this process.

Workshop to include:

  • What can you do now to start planning for middle school?
  • What questions do you have about the process?
  • How can you plan a successful transition?
  • What do you do once they make the transition?
  • How do Executive Functioning skills factor into middle school academics?

Beth Roberts Beth conducts individual and small group social skill sessions at SEC.  She also contracts with local school districts and community organizations as a consultant and direct service provider.  Additionally, Beth provides consulting services to parents of children with special needs, to support treatment program development.

Melissa Bilash is the founder of Advocacy & Consulting for Education located in Wayne.  ACFE assists families in navigating the process of working with student’s school district to provide more effective plans and specialized programming. ACFE works with families of both gifted students and students with special needs.

For a printable flyer: SEC middle school workshop

Individual Sessions @ SEC

Individual Sessions at SEC

Our individual sessions are designed to work on goals specific to your needs. We develop individual treatment plans that focus on creating a positive and safe environment for skill building.  Our approach focuses on the client’s strengths to support and encourage individual growth.  Here at SEC we utilize research-based interventions to address the skills that are necessary to be successful in all environments, such as at home, in school, or in the community.  These sessions can be combined with our small group sessions to provide opportunities to practice skills and enhance skill development

1 hour individual sessions are scheduled between the hours of 9am-5pm, Monday through Saturday.  Sessions are available for individuals between the ages of 2-21.  Our facilitators work closely with families and care givers to provide positive and productive feedback to support skill development across all settings.

What can individual session provide?

  • Safe and structured environment
  • Positive and productive feedback
  • Development of effective coping strategies
  • Expansion of social awareness
  • Social skills development
  • Independence

Individual Sessions for Ages 2-6 (Toddlers, Preschoolers and Kindergarteners)

Working one on one with your child, we focus on the specific needs essential for children at this age.  At this age, your child is learning to navigate their world outside the home for the first time.  This time is essential for building a strong foundation for future success.

Our approach is child-centered, using age-appropriate toys, games and activities.  Our focus is on (but not limited to): building positive peer interaction skills, play skill development and expansion, social awareness, independence, development of self- help skills, and communication skills.

Individual Sessions for Ages 6-11 (Elementary School)

The transition into elementary school presents new opportunities for independence and social skill building.  Children experience greater independence from their teachers and care givers as they attend school all day.  We develop our individual sessions to address the needs particular to this age group.

Individual sessions for this age include (but not limited to): building independence in social and peer relationships i.e. from play dates to hanging out with friends, recess skill building, learning to identify rigid vs flexible thinking and actions, transitioning from toy play to intangible play. In addition, we build positive behaviors and support continued social awareness.

Transition to Middle School

The transition to middle school can be a challenging time for both children and parents.  Middle school offers new demands not previously addressed at the elementary school level, such as new teachers, new peers and a new, more stimulating environment.  We can address such issues as coping with peer pressure and building relationships with peers and teachers.

Individual Sessions for Ages 11-14 (Middle School)

SEC offers individual sessions to support 6th through 8th grade adolescents.   We understand this time can be overwhelming for teens, and we want to prepare them for the demands of navigating the middle school environment.  We develop positive and effective strategies to address: stress associated with getting through a day of classes, completing homework, engaging in extra-curricular activities and interacting with adults and peers.  To accommodate the growing demands placed on this age group to navigate social media (including texting), we incorporate appropriate social media skill building.

Individual Sessions for Ages 14+ (High School and beyond)

Navigating the increasingly complex social environment of high school and early adulthood can be demanding. We focus on increasing the teen’s social competency and self-esteem by addressing specific challenges during our individual sessions. We include age-appropriate and self-directed activities to address these needs.

Individual sessions target the skills required for teenagers and young adults to experience success in the complex social interactions they face every day. One-on-one setting allows therapists to tailor support to the individual needs of the young person. Common issues include stress management, organizational skills, future planning programs (college or career), dating, and navigating social circles.

Small Group Sessions @ SEC

Small Group Sessions at SEC

Our group sessions are designed to provide opportunities for individuals to practice and learn new skills.  We structure our groups to facilitate individual growth within a group setting.  Here at SEC we utilize research-based interventions to address the skills that are necessary to be successful in all environments.  These sessions can be combined with our individual session to provide opportunities to practice skills and enhance skill development.

1hr group sessions are scheduled Monday-Friday based upon availability.  We also offer group sessions on Saturday’s from 9:00-5:00.  Groups are formed with 3-5 individuals based on a variety of factors.  We develop groups based on developmental needs, age, interests, and individual needs in relation to the group.

What can group sessions provide?

  • Structured and engaging activities to build social skills
  • Positive and productive feedback
  • Expansion of behavioral and social awareness
  • Development of effective coping strategies for social success

Group Sessions for Ages 4-6 (Preschoolers and Kindergarteners)

This group session is designed to be the perfect complement for your preschooler or kindergarteners’ day.  We use structured play to develop skills such as: social language, play theme development, and flexibility.  Our facilitators work closely with families and children to develop individual programming developed to foster social development and to practice school readiness skills all while playing and having fun!

Group Sessions for Ages 6-11 (Elementary School)

This group is designed to increase your child’s social language and play skill development.  We use structured play to develop essential social skills, such as: conversation development, learning how to engage in play appropriately, and the importance of flexibility during play.  This group is structured to meet the growing demands on elementary school aged children as their social world becomes bigger and more demanding.  We structure activities to build conversational skills, increase flexibility, develop recess skills, practice conflict resolution, and to promote the importance of team work

Group Sessions for Ages 13-17 (Middle School and High School)

Our teen groups focus on increasing your teen’s social language and competency through structured learning and direct instruction.  Using developmentally appropriate activities we focus on: building conversation skills, increasing flexibility, developing social confidence, and the importance of initiating/ maintaining friendships.  We assist in the transition from adolescence to young adult.  Group session are designed to address making friends as an emerging adult in new environments (for example: understanding verbal and nonverbal social cues and getting advice from peers), organization skills needed to schedule social activities and dating, navigating social media, and managing their school day (for example: problem solving social and/or teacher issues)

Group Session for Ages 17+

Designed to facilitate the transition from high school to either college or the workforce, this small group experience will develop the skills necessary to move into adulthood.  Working to increase independence skills essential to adulthood we focus on: researching social events, organizing transportation, developing job skills, and navigating social media.  Making the transition to adulthood includes navigating services available to individuals including: social security, voter registration, getting a driver’s license, obtaining medical access, and long term financial planning.  We assist with the instruction of how to obtain these and other adult related services/programs as well as working with individuals to understand the importance of these adult related services

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