Lesson 6: Healthy friendships

Understanding what friendly behaviour is and learning that being friendly to others makes us feel welcome and included

Before the lesson

Have ready

  • Text: Healthy relationships story (see Classroom resources)


  • Activity: Friendship cards  (see Classroom resources) – there are four cards per sheet and each child needs a card

Download classroom resources

Text: Healthy friendships story (for the teacher)
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Activity: Friendship cards
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Learning objective

  • To begin to understand that being friendly to others makes them feel welcome and included

Statutory guidance

  • Pupils should know that healthy friendships are positive and welcoming towards others, and do not make others feel lonely or excluded

Success criteria

  • I understand the difference between a friend and friendly behaviour
  • I can explain what friendly behaviour is
  • I can explain how being unfriendly can affect other people

Cross curricular links

  • PSHE Association’s Programme of Study for PSHE Education

Attention grabber

Put the children into small groups and give out Activity: Friendship cards (see Classroom resources).  

Ask the children to decide if the things on their cards are friendly or not friendly. Then check the children’s answers and discuss any which they were not sure about or got wrong.

Explain that we can be friendly to anyone although that person might not be a friend. Explain that a friend is usually someone we get on with really well and we choose to spend time with.


Key question

  • What is friendly behaviour and what isn’t?

Main event

Read  Text: Healthy friendship story (see Classroom resources) to the children and then discuss the following questions?

  • How might Esther be feeling?
  • How might Harriet be feeling?
  • Why might Ali and Camilla have behaved like they did?  

Make sure children don’t think they are just being unkind, you want the children to explore whether they might feel jealous or have a genuine reason why they don’t want to be friends with Esther.

Tell the children that they are going to decide what happens next. They will work in groups of four and each of them will take on one of the roles from the story.  They can then act out what happens in the story. 


Key question

  • How can problems in friendships be resolved?


Pupils needing extra support: May need additional support for the role play such as assigning them to particular characters and giving ideas about what their character might do.


Pupils working at greater depth: Should be challenged to describe  a greater depth of understanding of the feelings and motivations of each character.

Wrapping up

Ask groups to share their role play and then discuss the various approaches. Discuss that Ali and Camilla can decide who they want to be friends with, but the way they behaved towards Esther was not right.  

Ask the children what Ali and Camilla could do if they didn’t want to be friends with Esther? Possible answers could include finding her other friends, talking to her about how they feel, playing with her some days, making sure Harriet knew they would still be her friend even if she plays with Esther sometimes.

Reinforce the difference between being friendly and a friend and make sure children understand that we can behave in a friendly way to lots of people even if they are not actually our friends.


Key question

  • What is a friendly way to behave towards others?

Assessing pupils’ understanding and progress

Pupils with secure understanding indicated by: Understanding how the actions of others can affect people.


Pupils working at greater depth indicated by: Understanding why people behave the way they do and how this might impact on others.


  • Friend

  • Friendly

  • Feeling

  • Welcome

  • Included

Created by:
Sarah Huggins,  
RSE & PSHE specialist
Sarah has over 20 years’ experience in education. Starting as a Primary teacher, Sarah then moved into an advisory roleA particular job you do as part of a larger task that covered both PSHE education and Citizenship. She delivers courses…
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