A primary school program for coping with change: Apple’s Friends

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Apple’s Friends, developed by UK-based charity, Partnership for Children, is a school-based program that aims to promote the mental and emotional wellbeing of children. Designed for 7-9-year-olds, this program helps to foster the skills needed for children to cope with common everyday difficulties, and to deal with change.

Together with a hamster named Apple and her group of friends (children), students explore the following topics: Feelings, Communication, Friendship, Problem Solving, Changes, and Moving Forward.

Taught by classroom teachers, the program typically runs for 24 weeks, with one 45-minute session each week, involving stories, drawings, discussion and games. Apple’s Friends encourages children to explore and think for themselves, with each module ending with a story left unfinished for students to create their own endings. Also available are activities for children to do at home with their parents.

Although Apple’s Friends is designed as a universal prevention program, there are resources available on their website for children who have special needs, or who are coping with very difficult situations, such as bullying, bereavement or parental divorce. Apple’s Friends builds on a similar program by The Partnership for Children for younger children: Zippy’s Friends.