What is Labeeb's Friends program?
Labeeb's Friends is an evidence- based program for schools, which develops social emotional skills for children 5-7 years old. It usually runs for 24 weeks, with one 45-minute session each week.
The program is built around a set of six stories. Labeeb is a stick insect and his friends are a group of young children, and the stories show them confronting issues that are familiar to young children - friendship, communication, feeling lonely, bullying, dealing with change and loss, and making a new start. Each story is illustrated by brightly colored pictures.
Labeeb's Friends differs from many programs for young children:
Firstly, it has been designed to help all children, not just those who have difficulties or who are considered to be at risk. It promotes the mental health and emotional wellbeing of all.
Secondly, it does not teach children that 'this is right' and 'that is wrong'. Teachers do not tell children how to cope in a particular situation. Instead, they encourage them to generate their own solutions and strategies, and to discuss how helpful they might be.
Children learn to apply two simple rules:
• a solution must help me to feel better
• it must not hurt me or anyone else
Thirdly, the program is not competitive. Children are not marked on how they perform. No child comes top or bottom of the class. Instead, children are encouraged to work together, helping each other.
In Jordan the program is implemented this school year (2014/2015) in 2 schools:
• Spring Hills International Schools (SHIS)
• Al-Matrek National Schools
and we hope next year more schools will join Labeeb's Friends.