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Why Friendship Matters

Blog Post by Eboni N. Walker, 21 August 2021

Think back to your very first childhood friend.  Who were they?  Where did you meet them?  One of my very first childhood friends was a girl I met in kindergarten, Angela.  We were both animated, talkative, and full of lively ideas.  We became fast friends and even saw each other outside of school for movie nights and sleepovers.  Some of my favorite memories of elementary school included our friendship.

It’s back to school time.  And while the primary concern for many is focused on academics, there is value in taking the time to prepare the classroom environment, and making it a warm and welcoming place to support childrens’ social development.  Why?  Because learning happens in the context of relationships.

Before the cognitive wheels get churning, warm and friendly interactions with others prepare the brain for learning.

Learning is a social and emotional activity, and in school settings this certainly  includes friends.  Children tend to have better attitudes about school and learning when they have friends there, and these relationships (or the lack thereof) even affect children’s school performance.

HighScope suggests that “being able to communicate easily and effectively with others is a primary channel for acquiring knowledge and skills. This not only applies to what children learn from adults, but also what they learn from peers.”

Friendships help children develop emotionally and morally.  In interacting with friends, children learn many social skills, such as how to communicate, cooperate, and solve problems.  They practice recognizing and expressing their emotions while responding to the emotions of others.  Kids develop the ability to think through and negotiate different situations that arise in their relationships.

As it turns out, children who are socially successful are predisposed to academic success as well.

Friendships are very important for preschool and school-aged children. They help a child grow and develop the self-confidence and social skills needed as an adult.

In short, children benefit greatly from having friends – friendship matters.