Our Blog

We have partners in more than 30 countries – from Canada to China, Iceland to India. Like us, they’re all working to promote the mental health and emotional wellbeing of young children. Together we’ve got a wealth of experience and a variety of views.

Our Healthy Children blog is the place where we share new ideas and discuss what needs to be done to help young children to flourish. It’s a platform for partners, parents, teachers and children to talk about their experiences, and a chance for us all to learn from each other.

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      .title (string) = Win a visit for your school from children's author B B Taylor
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Pupils from Four Dwellings Academy in Birmingham are helping to write a book that will support children with their move to secondary school.
The project is called ‘Look at our Book’ and the title of the book will be announced on 5th March.


The exciting adventure book will go on sale in May this year. All net proceeds from the book are going to Partnership for Children to fund our work with our school-based programmes promoting children’s coping and social skills.


The competition
We are asking Year 6 pupils to submit a short story, a poem, a report, or a drawing showing how they feel about moving to secondary school.


The winning school will receive a visit from the renowned children’s author B B Taylor, and the pupil and school will be credited in the book. Two schools will receive runners-up prizes of a box of signed books.


The closing date for the competition is Friday 9th March 2018.

How to enter
Complete the entry form here, scan and email the entries to info@partnershipforchildren.org.uk with ‘Book Competition Entry’ in the subject line.


Or post the entry form with the children’s work to:
Book Competition,
Partnership for Children,
26-27 Market Place,
Kingston upon Thames,
Surrey, KT1 1JH

Keep up to date with the project by visiting www.facebook.com/lookatourbook

Good luck!

 

Terms and conditions.


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Pupils from Four Dwellings Academy in Birmingham are helping to write a book that will support children with their move to secondary school.
The project is called ‘Look at our Book’ and the title of the book will be announced on 5th March.


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      .title (string) = Zippy dash!
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Trolley Dash

We were kindly invited to take part in a charity trolley dash at the opening of the new Entertainer toy store in Kingston upon Thames on Saturday 27th January 2018.

One of our local special schools, Dysart School attended the dash with two pupils and their families. They helped raise an amazing £650 for us and in the process gained lots of toys and resources for the school. We had a fantastic morning and would like to thank The Entertainer for supporting our charity and Zippy’s Friends schools.

Dysart School has been running Zippy’s Friends for SEN since September 2017 and it was wonderful to hear how Zippy’s Friends has already had a huge impact.

Joanna Williams, Assistant Head, shared her thoughts on the programme. “We have found Zippy’s Friends for SEN to be invaluable in teaching many of our pupils the skills they need to identify and manage their emotions, and have been able to adapt it to suit the needs of our less cognitively able pupils too through the use of sensory approaches.”

In 2018 we hope to roll out Zippy’s Friend for SEN to new areas in the UK. Please share details of the programme through links with your local SEN schools and we can set up a training day. Zippy’s Friends for SEN is also suitable for use in specialist resource bases or unit provisions bases within mainstream schools.

Zippy’s Friends for SEN has been independently evaluated by The University of Birmingham. The findings of the study suggest that the Special Needs Supplement to Zippy’s Friends “can have beneficial effects for children with SEN, particularly in the areas of self-awareness, ability to regulate emotions and relationship skills”.

If your school is interested in finding out more about our Zippy’s Friends for SEN programme please contact Hannah Craig (Hannah.craig@partnershipforchildren.org.uk).


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We were kindly invited to take part in a charity trolley dash at the opening of the new Entertainer toy store in Kingston upon Thames on Saturday 27th January 2018.


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Children North East

Children North East is the oldest regional charity in the North East. For the last 127 years we have been transforming the lives of disadvantaged children so that they have a better chance in life. Here at the Children North East Schools Team we work with schools on a number of programmes including Poverty Proofing the School Day and Wilderness Schooling to guarantee that the school day is a positive experience for all children.

A key component of our programmes is listening to and responding to the voice of children and young people to influence a positive and life-changing experience of school. Through our work in schools, we have seen an increasing need for programmes to support the social and emotional wellbeing of children.

Zippy's and Apple's Friends offers a fantastic opportunity for schools to develop the coping and resilience skills of their students. We're passionate about ensuring that all children have equal opportunities in school and really like that Zippy's and Apple's Friends is a whole-class programme which offers all pupils the chance to discuss their feelings.  

We're very excited to be working with Partnership for Children delivering training for Zippy's Friends and Apple's Friends, and can't wait to work with schools and their teaching staff on this incredible programme.


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Children North East is the oldest regional charity in the North East. For the last 127 years we have been transforming the lives of disadvantaged children so that they have a better chance in life.


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      .title (string) = The importance of developing children’s thinking skills
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“The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.”
― Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian

The development of thinking skills is an essential life skill for all our children. Consider the journey a child takes as they move from a curious baby to an inquisitive pre-schooler, moving to an experimenting reception child, into a questioning KS1 child, then using their skills as a theorist and researcher in to KS2, ready to move into the next stage of their life. 

I like to think of the development of children’s thinking skills as a toolkit of strategies, ideas and resources which are slowly built up though careful support and interaction from supportive and insightful adults around them. When faced with new experiences or decisions, different pockets of their toolkit can be accessed and their different tools used. This helps children build up strong connections between situation and strategies and helps them grow a strong sense of their own identity and importance.

As the Lincolnshire lead for last year’s EEF funded Zippy’s Friends project I was in the very fortunate position to see how the programme enabled children to develop their own toolkit. Throughout the year, children grew in confidence in understanding and using the Zippy Tips to regulate their own coping strategies. It was amazing to see just how far they had developed their own thinking skills to the point that they were able to apply what they had learnt in their Zippy sessions elsewhere in their school day and also at home.

Teachers spoke with such enthusiasm about the format of the programme, highlighting specifically how the structure of Zippy provided their children with a much loved platform to check, practise and recheck their thoughts and ideas against. One teacher summed it up perfectly; “I have been fascinated to see children at playtime share their Zippy Tips with their friends. As a result of our Zippy Ambassadors, playtime falling outs have drastically reduced.”

What made this happen? Ideas included: sharing the Zippy Tips with lunchtime staff, sharing the programme in assemblies with the Zippy children taking lead roles, including in school newsletters and websites were some of the most popular. My particular favourite was to develop a whole school approach to the development of thinking skills with displays recognising this essential life skill & all lessons including this as a strategy to problem solve.

The children’s toolkits are definitely full, varied and functional!

 


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The development of thinking skills is an essential life skill for all our children. Consider the journey a child takes as they move from a curious baby to an inquisitive pre-schooler, moving to an experimenting reception child, into a questioning KS1 child, then using their skills as a theorist and researcher in to KS2, ready to move into the next stage of their life. 


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      .title (string) = University of Surrey Research Project: Transition from Primary to Secondary School
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Partnership for Children is supporting an important research project that is looking to recruit girls aged 10 and their parents with a focus on emotional competence during the transition from primary to secondary school.

This project will be conducted at the University of Surrey.

Systemic transitions across schools create stress for children, and their caregivers as well! The transition from primary to secondary school at age 11 is particularly challenging, as it coincides with the onset of puberty, which brings on a range of physical, hormonal and social changes for the individual. Importantly, research has shown that all these changes increase the vulnerability to psychological problems, with the most common problem being anxiety, which affects up to 1 in 4 children. Children with anxiety experience intense fears and worries, leading to problems with friendships, poor school performance, and long-term mental health difficulties.

This research hopes to find some ways of making the transition easier for the children, their parents, and their teachers.

If your children and you are interested in participating, do get in touch with research leader Dr Kathrin Cohen Kadosh via email (k.cohenkadosh@surrey.ac.uk) or phone (01483 68 3968) to go over the specifics of participating in this project and to arrange a testing appointment


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Partnership for Children is supporting an important research project that is looking to recruit girls aged 10 and their parents with a focus on emotional competence during the transition from primary to secondary school.


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In our last newsletter in Summer 2017 we asked for your feedback on running Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends. We received feedback from over 70 schools. Such feedback is invaluable and helps us to develop and improve the programme, so many thanks to all those who took the time to complete the survey. All schools were entered into a prize draw.

Congratulations to Tewkesbury Primary School who won a £250 Entertainer voucher.

Here are some responses from the survey which help remind us why it is important to find time in the week for this lesson.

 

Children

  • Enjoyment: 98% of teachers agreed that all children enjoyed Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends sessions, which many teachers noted was due to children feeling empowered to join in and have their voices heard.

“Children enjoy sharing their similar experiences to those of characters in Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends”

  • Coping: 87% of teachers agreed that children are better at dealing with their feelings and dealing with difficult situations since taking part in Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends.

“A shy sensitive child in my class has become more confident and is now able to verbalize their feelings”

“The programme addresses sensitive issues that aren’t usually dealt with in the classroom such as bereavement”

“ The programmes have helped children to recognise signs of emotion in their own bodies and use strategies if the feeling is not so pleasant”

“ Children who struggle building friendship groups are now more confident at building relationships with their peers”

 

Teachers

  • Programme delivery: 81% of teachers agreed that they feel excited and engaged when teaching Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends
  • Whole class approach: 87% of teachers agreed Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends are suitable for all children regardless of ability and are very inclusive
  • Resources: 96% of teachers agreed that the Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends materials and resources were useful

 “The structure, lesson plans and resources make delivering the programme straightforward”

  • Behaviour: 65% of teachers felt the programmes improved the children’s behaviour

 

Outside the classroom

  • 68% of teachers agreed that benefits had been noticed outside the classroom

“Parents have noted that children are more open and honest with them”

“Parents have told me their children are now able to resolve conflicts with siblings rather than argue”

 

 

 


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In our last newsletter in Summer 2017 we asked for your feedback on running Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends. We received feedback from over 70 schools. Such feedback is invaluable and helps us to develop and improve the programme, so many thanks to all those who took the time to complete the survey. All schools were entered into a prize draw.


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      .title (string) = The Importance of Communication
      .content (string) =

In our fast-paced lives technology certainly offers many benefits. In terms of communication we can have chats with many people at the same time on social media platforms. We can be always up to speed and in the know. Is this 21st Century Communication part of evolution? Is there a side effect? Should we be concerned?

Composer Libby Larsen said “The great myth of our times is that technology is communication. It puts up a great barrier between human beings leaving us yearning for intimacy.”

Closeness, eye contact, soothing words and empathetic conversations can only happen face to face, in the here and now. Is there a genuine risk that technology  is damaging the very element of life it is trying to improve?

In order to learn language and social skills children need experiences. As children learn to speak, adults support their development through informal conversations, through songs and rhymes with movements, through shared reading and through the use of narrative. Asking children to discuss stories or real events helps children to develop their language skills, their thinking and understanding of the world, and lays the foundations for higher planning skills.

Children will always need to learn to speak. They will always need to develop physically, socially and emotionally. They will only be able to do that through nurturing, closeness, intimacy and interaction. A recent study commissioned by Save The Children revealed that 130,000 children each year in England alone are starting school unable to speak fluently and in sentences. Communication and Language difficulties are preventing children from making good progress in reading and writing. More and more schools are reporting children facing difficulties in spoken language.

One change in the last ten years has been the introduction and mass use of the smartphone.

We have all seen families out together in cafes sitting together but not talking to each other as the mobile phone has more pressing matters to attend to: emails, Twitter, Candy Crush, newsflashes, anything.

Children need language. They need conversations. They need to interact. Let’s be smart about how and when we use our phones.

Written by Chris Williams, edited by Partnership for Children

 

Chris Williams is the founder of chatta. Chatta provides training and resources to support children’s development in oracy and storytelling. Chatta’s main benefits are:

  • Accelerated Progress in Early Language Development
  • Removing barriers for children with Special Needs
  • Supporting Children learning to speak English as an additional language.

www.chatta.co.uk 

hello@chatta.co.uk

@hellochatta


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In our fast-paced lives technology certainly offers many benefits. In terms of communication we can have chats with many people at the same time on social media platforms. We can be always up to speed and in the know. Is this 21st Century Communication part of evolution? Is there a side effect? Should we be concerned?


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      .author (string) = helen2
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      .title (string) = Zippy in New Jersey, USA
      .content (string) =

The Todd Ouida Children's Foundation is proud to have introduced Zippy's Friends to the United States, with the enthusiastic support of Dr. Gerard Costa, now director of the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health at Montclair State University.

The Ouida family established the Todd Ouida Children’s Foundation to create a meaningful legacy for 25-year-old Todd after he died in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. 

Born out of Todd's own successful struggle with childhood anxiety, the mission of the foundation is to:

  • Financially support psychological services for children of families in need and promote mental health initiatives for all children
  • Raise awareness and reduce the stigma of anxiety and depression disorders in children, recognizing the need for early intervention
  • Provide contact information for those seeking help

The foundation supports an annual conference in children’s mental health at Montclair State University in New Jersey and has endowed an annual lecture and research grant in the areas of childhood and adolescent mental health at Todd’s alma mater, the University of Michigan. Several programs for infants and mothers are funded as well. For a complete list of the organizations supported, and a brief video of Zippy’s Friends in action, please visit www.mybuddytodd.org

Recruitment to Zippy’s Friends has not been easy, as each state is divided into school districts which are hard to engage as one unit. However, Rebecca and Jennifer at Montclair have made huge efforts on this front in the last school year, and have succeeded in signing up no less than three whole districts, involving over 200 new teachers. To keep them engaged, regular teacher support calls are offered on one evening every month.

 


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The Todd Ouida Children's Foundation is proud to have introduced Zippy's Friends to the United States, with the enthusiastic support of Dr. Gerard Costa, now director of the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health at Montclair State University.

The Ouida family established the Todd Ouida Children’s Foundation to create a meaningful legacy for 25-year-old Todd after he died in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.


      .postdate (string) = 2017-10-09 14:32:00
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      .title (string) = A Croydon school discusses death
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We recently visited a very successful Zippy’s Friends session in a school in Croydon, south London – all the more impressive because it was Module 5, session 2, where the class discusses death. Many teachers are apprehensive about this, particularly because children may voice all sorts of ideas about what happens after death. Many of these spring from religious beliefs, stories children may have heard, or TV or video games. It’s often difficult to know how to respond, particularly if the ideas are inspired by religious teaching or family culture. However, because the session concentrates on facts, the programme is compatible with any religious beliefs or none.

Although a large class with a diverse mix of cultures and backgrounds, Year 2 felt like a very safe space for children to share their thoughts. They were respectful to each other and listened attentively to what each had to say. The teacher told us that this had not been the case at the beginning of the year, but that regular use of the Rules, and the consistent format of the sessions, had encouraged discipline and respect in these young children.

‘What happens when someone dies?’ asked the teacher.

‘Your heart stops and your lungs stop and you don’t breathe,’ said a girl.

‘Angels come and take you up to Heaven and you turn into a ghost,’ said a boy.

‘Thanks, Jack – that’s a belief that some people have. But does the body actually disappear?’

‘No,’ responded a girl. ‘It just stops.’

By distinguishing between belief and fact, the teacher enabled the children to know what was true, and what they could choose to believe if they wanted to. So accepting was the class atmosphere that another girl chose to tell the class of the death of her sister, aged three, while at nursery. 

‘How would you feel if something like that happened to you?’ asked the teacher.

‘I would feel heartbroken,’ responded a boy.


      .summary (string) =

We recently visited a very successful Zippy’s Friends session in a school in Croydon, south London – all the more impressive because it was Module 5, session 2, where the class discusses death. Many teachers are apprehensive about this, particularly because children may voice all sorts of ideas about what happens after death.


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      .title (string) = Zippy's Friends really works!
      .content (string) =

The original impetus for Zippy’s Friends came from the suicide prevention movement, with the aim of enabling children to find positive coping skills so that they wouldn’t feel the need to resort to desperate measures such as self-harm or suicide. Partnership for Children does not promote Zippy’s Friends as a suicide prevention programme, as it was felt that it would be impossible to demonstrate a link between the two. However, recent results from a Brazilian study are very encouraging.

Estimated rates of self-harm are around 20% in children and young people in Brazil, similar to much of the developed world. The local authority in Luiz Alves in the state of Santa Catarina has run Zippy’s Friends in the city since 2009, and decided to look at the medical records of over 1,500 children aged 7 -17 to see whether the programme had had positive effects. To their surprise, they found there was not a single record of self-harm or attempted suicide amongst this group.

So impressed was the city with these results that, in addition to Zippy’s Friends, it has adopted Passport: Skills for Life for grades 6 – 9 in four schools in the city, to reinforce the learning of Zippy’s Friends. As Rosane, the local coordinator says, this should embed healthy coping skills in the young people, which will benefit ‘not only that person, but also the family and society’.


      .summary (string) =

The original impetus for Zippy’s Friends came from the suicide prevention movement, with the aim of enabling children to find positive coping skills so that they wouldn’t feel the need to resort to desperate measures such as self-harm or suicide. Partnership for Children does not promote Zippy’s Friends as a suicide prevention programme, as it was felt that it would be impossible to demonstrate a link between the two. However, recent results from a Brazilian study are very encouraging.

 


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      .author (string) = helen2
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      .title (string) = Your summer holiday project… knit a Zippy!
      .content (string) =

For many years you have asked us to provide a Zippy toy and lots of you have been creative in making your own. However, our new corporate sponsor, Wesleyan, have created a Zippy knitting pattern for us. Now everyone can get crafty and create their own knitted Zippy! 

Knitting has been shown to have many positive mental health benefits, including reducing stress and providing a moment to ‘switch off’ and give the mind a break. Teaching children to knit is also a valuable and fun activity, developing children’s fine motor coordination skills and critical thinking. Read more about the benefits of knitting for adults and children via the links below:

knitom.com/therapeutic-knitting/

www.craftyarncouncil.com/classbenefits.html

Encourage colleagues, parents, siblings, grandparents and children to swap buckets and spades for knitting needles and wool over the summer holidays and knit a Zippy!

We look forward to receiving photos of Zippy knitting in progress and the finished product!


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Here’s something to fill those spare hours(!) over the summer… Download our new Zippy knitting pattern and make your very own Zippy!


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      .title (string) = Talking to children about terrorism
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The attack at the concert in Manchester and the attack in London has, understandably, caused a lot of fear and anxiety amongst children and parents. It’s important not to ignore this, but to be open and honest with children, giving them a chance to tell you what they and their friends are saying and feeling. If you’re scared yourself, it’s ok to admit that, but you need to stay calm and tell children that these attacks are very rare, so the risk to them is very small.

For very young children, under six years old, the priority is to make them feel safe, so they may need more hugs and reassurance than usual. If you need to be away from them, give them plenty of warning. Tell children that the police are working very hard to keep us all safe. For older children, you can help them to help themselves by practising ‘strong thoughts’ and putting aside a short time each day to address their fears.

Professor Atle Dyregrov, an expert on children’s trauma, has written ’10 tips for talking with children and young people about terror’.


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The attack at the concert in Manchester and the attack in London has, understandably, caused a lot of fear and anxiety amongst children and parents. 


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      .title (string) = Using Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends to help with transition
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School transitions can be an unsettling time for both teachers and pupils and may bring up difficult feelings.

To help your new class or current class with the transition to a new year group and teacher, try these Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends ideas at the end or beginning of term:

  • Use the teacher training presentation we provide to make next year’s teacher aware of the programme and how the work you have done with the class on Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends can be followed through. This consistency and familiarity may be just what the children need if they struggle during the first few weeks. The new teacher can remind them of the Zippy Tips, Apple tips and Rules for Choosing a Good Solution.
  • Make a pipe cleaner Zippy or toy Apple for children to take with them into their new class next year so Zippy and Apple can join them on their journey and remind them of all they learnt, particularly about change.
  • Use the Zippy’s Friends & Apple’s Friends programmes during transition week. If you are teaching your new class at the end of term, start Zippy’s Friends or Apple’s Friends to get to know the class and create an open and supportive atmosphere. Or you could start at the beginning of term to build up positive relationships between children.
  • Repeat the Home Activity on change in Module 5 Session 1 of Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends to help initiate conversations at home about how the children might be feeling about a new class.

A reminder that if you are moving year groups as a trained Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends teacher,  you are trained to teach both programmes.

Zippy’s Friends is designed for 5-7 year olds and Apple’s Friends is designed for 7-9 year olds, so you can start one of the programmes in Years 1-4.

Contact us for more information on 020 8974 6004.

 

 

 


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School transitions can be an unsettling time for both teachers and pupils and may bring up difficult feelings. To help your new class or current class with the transition to a new year group and teacher, try these Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends ideas at the end or beginning of term:


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Ever since Zippy’s Friends was first trialled over 17 years ago, teachers have asked, ‘What’s next?’  After many years and stages of development, Apple’s Friends has been launched as the follow-up programme to Zippy. However, children don’t have to have done Zippy to do Apple – it can be run as a programme by itself.

It’s now running in Brazil, China, England, Jordan, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Trinidad and Tobago, and will be running soon in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  Feedback from teachers, children and parents has been as positive as that we receive for Zippy, as you can see from the quotes below. And when the Trimbos Institute in the Netherlands conducted a randomised control trail, they found that doing both programmes had more significant effects than just doing Zippy’s Friends.

In the UK, we’ve now developed training course for both trainers and teachers which cover both Zippy and Apple, while retaining single-programme training as required.

If you’d like to find out more, email: caroline.egar@partnershipforchildren.org.uk.

My personal THANKS for the program Apple Friend’s. Although I am already a 55 year old teacher, this program has taught me myself to search/look and find more different ways out of difficult situations. I have changed myself and my life has become better. - Teacher

"Apple’s Friends" helped my son a lot. Now he communicates much more openly and makes friends easily. The program taught him to adapt to life and other children in the classroom. He became more flexible and learned to solve or even to avoid conflicts. - Parent

I felt better when I learned that others sometimes feel like I do. - Apple's Friends pupil

Now I know that there are many ways to get out of bad situations.  I never knew there were so many names for emotions. - Apple's Friends pupil

Apple’s Friends is the new lesson which is my favourite class. Because it is very interesting and the most importantly, I have learned many ways to solve the problem. For example, there are a lot of troubles in my life, I don’t know how to face them. So I often get upset. In the lesson I learned the proper solution to cope with this kind of situation. After my mom knew I learned it in class, she was very glad. Now I can make friends easily, no matter the person is younger or older. I always see the positives of them. Even there is a conflict, I can give the priority to others. Thank you, Apple’s Friends! Thank you my teacher! - Apple's Friends pupil

 


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      .title (string) = A Successful Funding Partnership
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Zippy’s Friends is now extremely successful and well known in Lithuania, with some 35% of all six to seven year-olds taking part in the programme. But ten years ago, this wasn’t the case at all, and times were tough for our NGO, Vaiko Labui. Lithuania had just joined the EU and donors were either leaving, or hadn’t yet arrived, so it was really hard to raise funds.

Then an opportunity came up to present Zippy’s Friends at an annual meeting of the British Chamber of Commerce, Lithuania.

That evening was a great success, and a game-changer for Lithuanian Zippy’s Friends and its partners. Our long-lasting friendship with the BCC Lithuania started here, and in the audience was one of the owners of the retail chain IKI, which duly became the general sponsor of Zippy’s Friends in Lithuania. IKI has been supporting the programme ever since, and last year we held a conference “Zippy’s Friends – for the child, teacher and school” to mark the 10th anniversary of IKI sponsorship.

Our relationship with the BCC has continued since then, with their financing of our website development, and support for the translation of the Zippy’s Friends Special Needs Supplement. And this year they have provided funding for the publishing and printing of this Supplement.

We are very grateful to the BCC for its support and for all the opportunities they have created for us. And we are grateful not only for the material assistance, but also for their trust and confidence in us, for their overall support and belief that our activities are important.

Aurelija Okunauskiene

Director, Vaiko Labui

 

Note from PFC:

Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, International Women’s Groups and British Embassies all have pots of funding for local NGOs.

In addition, charitable trusts and foundations are a good source of funding. Some trusts that fund international work include:

The Peter Cundill Foundation

Medicor Foundation

The Herrod Foundation  


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Zippy’s Friends is now extremely successful and well known in Lithuania, with some 35% of all six to seven year-olds taking part in the programme. But ten years ago, this wasn’t the case at all, and times were tough for our NGO, Vaiko Labui.


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When our partners send us their annual reports, we need to have accurate statistics on school, teacher and children numbers. But the bit we enjoy reading most are the stories which tell us, more than numbers, what Zippy and Apple can do for children. Here are a few of the most recent success stories from around the world.

From Russia

Zippy in RussiaA teacher reported: “During the 3rd year we have been working on the Zippy’s Friends programme. There are no fights, insults are extremely rare, the children have a positive attitude. We got a new boy who came from another city. At first, he behaved defiantly, calling the other children names and provoking them. But our children did not react as he expected – instead, they said, ‘I would like you to play, not fight.’ The boy gradually calmed down and his anger melted away.”

 

From Jordan

A girl in grade 2 ate things (literally): she ate pencils, erasers, paper, and her classmates’ sandwiches – even though she had her own sandwich in her lunch box. One day she tried to eat her friend’s hair “because it's beautiful”.  She had problems with her school work, and the school had tried (since she was in grade 1) to help her and modify her behaviour, but they hadn't succeeded. The parents were stuck!

In the Zippy session about jealousy, she expressed strongly that she felt jealous of her little brother and sister, and of her friends and classmates. (The teacher described her facial expression as very strong!) The teacher and parents put a plan in place, and within two months there was a 180 degree change! Her bad behaviours stopped, and her school work improved.

 

From Slovakia

Zippy in SlovakiaA teacher in her 60s, who had lost her son several years previously, was very worried about teaching Module 5 on Change and Loss. During training, Nad’a agreed that she could get in touch closer to the time, and they could support her to deliver the sessions if necessary. However, she didn’t contact them, and when they met up again, the teacher explained she had had a wonderful experience teaching the module. It had allowed her to deal with what had happened better, and she found it very useful to open up and share her experiences with the children. Nad’a also commented that the teacher’s whole appearance and demeanour had changed – she looked ten years younger!

 


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A song or a rhyme can be a great way to start or end you Zippy or Apple class. Our Norwegian partners have created a brilliant Zippy’s Friends song complete with English translation

In China this class regularly use their Apple’s Friends song

{video file="uploads/video/Prof_Gao_Apples_Video.mp4"}

 

In the UK we provide the following to help classes start or end their Zippy session

{audio file="uploads/audio/Zippys_Friends_song.mp3"}

 

Zippy can help me

(to the tune of Waltzing Matilda)


Zippy can help me 

Zippy can help me

Zippy can help me decide what to do.

When I’m sad or I’m lonely,

Frightened or unhappy,

Zippy can help me decide what to do.

 

We’ve also heard of schools using Disney songs or creating their own rhymes and adaptations.

Let us know if you use music in your classes!


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While the main Zippy’s Friends folder has everything you need to teach the programme, don’t forget there are lots of great ideas for extending and enhancing activities in the Inclusion Supplement. These activities have been specially designed to ensure children in your class with special educational needs (SEN) can get the most out of the programme but can be beneficial for the whole class.

Quick catch ups

If you have your Zippy class at the start of the week it can be a good idea to run one of the activities from the Inclusion Supplement as a reminder later in the week.

Early finisher activities

When you are doing drawing or roleplay activities, have a look at the Inclusion Supplement to see if there are any activities that could be given to early-finishers to keep them engaged while the rest of the class finish their work.

Differentiated learning

If you have a very mixed ability group, you can use ideas in the Inclusion Supplement as activities for different groups.

TA time

If a pupil has additional support or 1-2-1 time with a Teaching Assistant make sure they are aware of Zippy’s Friends and the Golden Rules. It’s a great time to re-inforce the messages of the programme and try out some of the 1-2-1 activities.

Small group follow up

At William Davies School in Newham they run Zippy’s Friends in Year 1 and then repeat the programme again in Year 2 with a small group of pupils who could use extra support. This is a great way to reinforce the lessons of the programme and using the small group activities in the Inclusion Supplement means children won’t get bored by the repetition.

As part of the main programme

It’s always worth taking a few minutes to look over the Inclusion Supplement before each session. There are lots of extensions to the existing activities that can make your lesson more visual or dynamic and ensure all learners in your class can make the most of Zippy’s Friends.


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Apples Friends in actionLucy Stevens is the SENCO of Berry Hill Primary School in Gloucestershire. She has been running Apple’s Friends with a Year 3 class since November 2016.

 

Why did you start running Apple’s Friends?

We have a high proportion of children in school with significant emotional issues and we are very committed to improving and promoting children’s wellbeing.  We felt that Apple’s Friends would allow us to do this.

 

What do the children think of Apple's Friends?

I asked the children for their answer to this question and this is what they said:

‘It’s taught me ‘how’ to be kind to other people.’

‘It’s good because it’s about feelings and we’re able to discuss difficult situations and feel better about them.’

‘It’s about caring.’

‘It’s given me the skills to care more about each other.’

‘It’s about sharing and being polite.’

‘Good – it’s a chance to talk freely.’

‘I like to listen to people and their ideas.’

‘It helps us to get to know each other better and find solutions to problems.’

‘I like the characters – they’re just like me!’

 

What’s worked well- are there any activities that have been particularly popular?

When I asked, the children said they really enjoyed:

  • Role plays
  • Drama
  • The Feelings Tree
  • Speaking and listening activities
  • Reading, writing, acting and colouring

 

Have there been any challenges? How have you dealt with them?

To be honest I have been surprised how well it is has gone and there haven’t been any challenges.  The children have been very open and happy to discuss situations which are difficult.Apples Friends in action

 

What impact do you think the programme has had?

Children have been more open in discussing their feelings.  It has allowed them to explore difficult situations.  I feel the children are much more aware of understanding and tuning into other people’s feelings and recognising it’s more than just what people say to one another, it’s also about body language and a person’s demeanour. 

Has your school run Zippy’s Friends?

No we hadn’t before but we are planning to now.

Would you recommend Apple’s Friends to others?

Yes, most definitely!

 

 


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Lucy Stevens is the SENCO of Berry Hill Primary School in Gloucestershire. She has been running Apple’s Friends with a Year 3 class since November 2016. Read our interview with her.


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Bullying is not only horrible to experience, but research shows it can have long-term detrimental effects on mental health. Both Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends focus on bullying and try not only to reduce bullying in the classroom but also to give children coping skills to support them now and in the future.

What is bullying?

Children sometimes find it hard to distinguish bullying from occasional teasing and can start to label any negative comment, or even parental discipline as “bullying”

In our programmes we give the following definition.

“Bullying involves repeated nastiness to somebody, where a person or group deliberately targets someone with the intention of hurting them or making them feel bad. The abuse can be physical or emotional, and may involve name-calling or spreading nasty stories about somebody. If the abuse is done online, or via social media or phones it’s called cyber bullying”

If you are looking for more information on the difference between “rude”, “mean” and “bullying” this article by author Signe Whitson has some useful  pointers.

Preventing bullying

The first step for schools should always be to prevent bullying. Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends support this approach through encouraging kindness and empathy and discussing with children from a young age what bullying is. The rules about bullying in both programmes remind students not to bully and to ask for help if they experience bullying.

“Nobody has the right to bully other people”

“If we are bullied, we can ask for help from someone we trust”

Evaluations of Zippy’s Friends have found it actually reduces bullying compared to schools without the programme. In Norway, control schools (who didn’t run Zippy’s Friends) saw a small reduction in bullying over the course of the year. For schools that had run the programme the reduction was six times as high.    

Coping with bullying

The coping skills taught in Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends can also reduce the impact of bullying if it does occur. The long-term effect of bullying can be mitigated by how a child learns to cope with the situation.

There are two main ways to cope with any situation. One involves trying to change the situation.  In this case, it may involve avoiding or stopping being bullied. Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends with their focus on asking for help and communicating give tools to support this.

The second approach involves thinking differently about what happened and learning to deal with the emotional effects of the experience. Coping with situations by feeling differently about them can be very successful- for example, seeing the problem is in the bully or the school environment rather than themselves or learning to reduce feelings of anxiety rather than being consumed by them.    

Both types of coping mechanisms are promoted and practised in Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends giving children a wide repertoire of strategies to draw on both in class and in the years to come. Although Module 4 focusses on bullying, Modules 5 and 6 continue to promote and develop these useful coping strategies. 

Helping the bullies

Finally it’s always worth remembering that bullies themselves are often unhappy and insecure and need better coping skills too. Universal programmes such as Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends aim to give all children the tools they need.


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Involving families in Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends is a great way to help children to use their new skills outside the classroom. 

 

Run a meeting for parents

Before you start running Zippy’s Friends with your class, host a meeting for parents to let them know about the programme.

We’ve put together this template for a meeting which includes the background the programme, how parents can help and the chance for them to try out one of the activities.

Download the PowerPoint here.

 

English Parents' Guide to Zippy's Friends

Parents’ guides

Each set of resources for Zippy’s Friends includes 30 parent’s guides. The guide is also available to download in 23 languages.

The guide has been redesigned in recent years and is now more compact and accessible. You can order additional copies of the parents’ guide using our order form.

 

Home Activities

Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends now include Home Activities for every module.

These sheets are sent home at the end of each module and let children share what they’ve been learning with an adult at home.

“The children loved completing them, especially the part where their parent had to do a bit on the sheet too!”

Parents who fed back in the activities agreed they were enjoyable for both parent and child. They also helped parents to understand what their child was learning in Zippy’s Friends and to bond with their child.

The Home Activities come as standard in the new Zippy’s Friends teacher’s folder and are included in every Apple pack. To order resources please visit www.partnershipforchildren.org.uk/teachers/zippy-s-friends-teachers/order-resources-for-uk-schools.

 

Online resources

We have also redeveloped the free parents’ resources that are available on our website. These resilience-building resources follow the themes of Zippy and Apple’s friends but are available for all parents, whether their child has done the programme or not. Please do share them with families or colleagues you think would find them useful.

 

Feedback from parents who have used the resources:

“While she is small & still learning how all her feelings 'feel' I think these tools will be really useful in helping her to communicate with me without feeling pressure to explain herself.”

“I often notice that my children can sometimes find it difficult to 'put into words' what they are thinking or feeling.  They both found it incredibly easy & enjoyable to participate in the activity & did so with great enthusiasm.”

“There is nothing about this activity that they didn't enjoy & nothing that didn't work. As a parent I found it an incredibly helpful tool in learning more about what the children are thinking & feeling & would certainly recommend it to fellow mums.”

 

 


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Involving families in Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends is a great way to help children to use their new skills outside the classroom.


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The first modules of Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends focus on feelings. For young children, learning about feelings is a key skill that will help them to manage their emotions and ask for help when needed.

 

Why is it important to identify feelings?

As children grow up they move from non-verbal ways to express their emotions (largely crying!) to learning to speak and label feelings. However, it isn’t necessary to articulate a feeling to experience it. We don’t have to say “I feel sad” to feel sad. Often we react automatically without labelling the feeling- by crying, looking sad or moving more slowly. 

Young children aren’t necessarily used to naming feelings and expressing them. They may have difficulty identifying what feeling they are feeling and why. But being able to communicate feelings to others can be an essential first step to identifying useful coping strategies. If children can’t understand and articulate their feelings they might not be able to ask for and receive help.

Behaviour isn’t always a good indication of how a child is feeling. For example, a child who is feeling anxious about joining a new class may hide that by being aggressive. Identifying the underlying feelings is an important first step in learning how to cope better.

 

Feelings and PSHE

The PSHE Association recommend that KS1 children have the opportunity to learn “about good and not so good feelings, a vocabulary to describe their feelings to others and simple strategies for managing feelings” They also recommend a PSHE curriculum includes opportunities for children “to communicate their feelings to others, to recognise how others show feelings and how to respond”

The American Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) includes Self-awareness (including the ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions) and Self-management (the ability to regulate one’s emotions) as two of its five core competencies for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Their research shows that children who receive quality SEL programmes benefit from:

  • better academic performance
  • improved attitudes and behaviours
  • fewer negative behaviours
  • reduced emotional distress

 

Zippy’s Friends and feelings

Feelings

Module one of Zippy’s Friends focuses on four key emotions: sad, angry, nervous and jealous. Each session also looks at coping strategies to feel better.  Understanding that we are experiencing these feelings can help us find ways to cope with the situation.

Of the four emotions covered in the first module, jealousy can be trickiest for children to grasp. Although most children will have experienced it, it can’t be summed up with a facial expression like happy, sad or angry. Teachers can find it helpful to ask parents to discuss feeling jealous with their child before they start Session Three. Using lots of different examples of situations where someone could feel jealous can also help.

Like all feelings, jealousy is a spontaneous reaction which we have whether we want to or not. It’s important to emphasise that it’s normal and common. There is no problem with feeling jealous (or angry or sad) - it is what you do when you feel that way that counts.

Zippy’s Friends not only helps children to recognise their feelings. It also helps them to find coping strategies that work for them.

 


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Why is it important to identify feelings?


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There are lots of things you can do to set the tone before your first Zippy class. Many schools add an extra session (session 0) to introduce the characters, the rules and show that Zippy classes will be different from other lessons.

Activities could include:

  • Make a Zippy name badge. Use the Zippy’s Friends logo or sticker template on the DVD and create cards the children can wear during the sessions. Children add their names and decorate the badges.
  • Make a Zippy from pipe cleaners. Using 4 pipe-cleaners and some googly eyes, children can make their own Zippy’s.  They can put a name tag on one of the legs to identify theirs.  In future, if children want to talk to you on their own or discuss a problem, they can put their own model Zippy on your desk and know that you will then make time to see them.
  • Introduce and discuss the rules. Ask the children to draw pictures of the different rules. These can be used in future lessons when the rules are repeated.
  • Introduce the characters. Use the colouring sheets from the DVD or get the children to make puppets using the character posters and straws or lollipop sticks. The pictures could be used to decorate the Zippy’s Friends noticeboard in the classroom. The puppets can be used to engage children in the stories more.
  • Learn a Zippy’s Friends song. An example is included on the DVD but you could also make up your own using any popular tune. Actions are also really popular.
  • Real-life pet stick insects! Some schools have pet stick insects in their classroom over the year (but be warned they breed quickly!) Session 0 could be a great way of introducing the pets and setting up the classes.

Do you have any other ideas to introduce Zippy’s Friends? Please contact us to let us know.


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Zippy’s Friends launched in France this year, with seven schools taking part in the programme. Last month our CEO Wendy Tabuteau and Programme Director Caroline Egar went to visit to find out how the programme has been running.

Teachers were very positive about the experience and the impact it has had on their children:

“This programme seems to be a special time for children in the week where they show real skills and a real pleasure to be listened to by others.”

“Even a boy who turned his back on the circle to start with now contributes in the sessions.”

“I have a difficult class where there are a lot of children with problems. But I was surprised at how quickly they picked up the programme. They love the Mystery Box, and all want to join in.”

They also praised the design of the programme, showing once again how Zippy’s Friends works across different cultures.

“In France we don’t like materials that are too prescriptive. But I found the lesson plans very helpful, and they gave me the freedom to bring in my own ideas too.”

Each country also brings its different culture to the celebration at the end of the programme. In France the children were lucky enough to have this wonderful Tarte aux Pommes to celebrate all of their hard work in Zippy’s Friends.

Our partner in France is Fédération Départementale des Foyers Ruraux de Charente Maritime, a people’s education association that advocates for the development of rural areas. More details of their organisation, and how they are implementing Zippy’s Friends, can be found on page 18 of our Around the World booklet.


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We re-launched our resilience-building activities for children this week and one family got a sneak peek.

Kate and her son Junior tested out some of the resources for us. Kate says “We really enjoyed working through the sheets.”

Junior’s favourite activity was drawing people feeling different emotions. You can see his fantastic illustrations below.

Some activities were trickier, like thinking of an emotion for every letter of the alphabet. But, Kate says, Junior “enjoyed it and we had a good conversation around the different emotions we thought of.”

“All in all”, says Kate “it was a great exercise. It's reassuring to see children's mental health being looked at, as there is so much focus on physical health, this brings balance to the table.” We couldn’t agree more which is why Partnership for Children works with schools and families to promote good mental health and improve children’s coping and social skills.

Thanks so much to Kate and Junior for test-driving our resources! You can find all of the activities on feelings, and a range of other topics, here.

If you try them out, we’d love to know what you think. Email any feedback to info@partnershipforchildren.org.uk

We are raising money through our Radio 4 Appeal to make sure we can work with even more parents and families to support their children’s mental health. Listen live on 12th June or find out more here.

 


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Look at our book

Pupils from Four Dwellings Academy in Birmingham are helping to write a book that will support children with their move to secondary school.
The project is called ‘Look at our Book’ and the title of the book will be announced on 5th March.

By : Partnership for Children
Date : Feb 5, 2018
The Entertainer

We were kindly invited to take part in a charity trolley dash at the opening of the new Entertainer toy store in Kingston upon Thames on Saturday 27th January 2018.

Children North East

Children North East is the oldest regional charity in the North East. For the last 127 years we have been transforming the lives of disadvantaged children so that they have a better chance in life.

Jayne Carter

The development of thinking skills is an essential life skill for all our children. Consider the journey a child takes as they move from a curious baby to an inquisitive pre-schooler, moving to an experimenting reception child, into a questioning KS1 child, then using their skills as a theorist and researcher in to KS2, ready to move into the next stage of their life. 

University of Surrey

Partnership for Children is supporting an important research project that is looking to recruit girls aged 10 and their parents with a focus on emotional competence during the transition from primary to secondary school.

Zippy's Friends survey

In our last newsletter in Summer 2017 we asked for your feedback on running Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends. We received feedback from over 70 schools. Such feedback is invaluable and helps us to develop and improve the programme, so many thanks to all those who took the time to complete the survey. All schools were entered into a prize draw.

By : Chris Williams, founder of chatta
Date : Oct 18, 2017
chatta logo

In our fast-paced lives technology certainly offers many benefits. In terms of communication we can have chats with many people at the same time on social media platforms. We can be always up to speed and in the know. Is this 21st Century Communication part of evolution? Is there a side effect? Should we be concerned?

By : Partnership for Children
Date : Oct 9, 2017
Todd Ouida

The Todd Ouida Children's Foundation is proud to have introduced Zippy's Friends to the United States, with the enthusiastic support of Dr. Gerard Costa, now director of the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health at Montclair State University.

The Ouida family established the Todd Ouida Children’s Foundation to create a meaningful legacy for 25-year-old Todd after he died in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

By : Partnership for Children
Date : Oct 9, 2017
Category :General,
Boy in graveyard

We recently visited a very successful Zippy’s Friends session in a school in Croydon, south London – all the more impressive because it was Module 5, session 2, where the class discusses death. Many teachers are apprehensive about this, particularly because children may voice all sorts of ideas about what happens after death.

By : Partnership for Children
Date : Oct 9, 2017
Luiz Alves, Brazil

The original impetus for Zippy’s Friends came from the suicide prevention movement, with the aim of enabling children to find positive coping skills so that they wouldn’t feel the need to resort to desperate measures such as self-harm or suicide. Partnership for Children does not promote Zippy’s Friends as a suicide prevention programme, as it was felt that it would be impossible to demonstrate a link between the two. However, recent results from a Brazilian study are very encouraging.

 

knitted_zippy

Here’s something to fill those spare hours(!) over the summer… Download our new Zippy knitting pattern and make your very own Zippy!

By : Partnership for Children
Date : Jun 5, 2017
Manchester attack

The attack at the concert in Manchester and the attack in London has, understandably, caused a lot of fear and anxiety amongst children and parents. 

By : Partnership for Children
Date : May 31, 2017
Pipe cleaner Zippys

School transitions can be an unsettling time for both teachers and pupils and may bring up difficult feelings. To help your new class or current class with the transition to a new year group and teacher, try these Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends ideas at the end or beginning of term:

By : Caroline Egar
Date : May 23, 2017

Ever since Zippy’s Friends was first trialled over 17 years ago, teachers have asked, ‘What’s next?’ After many years and stages of development, Apple’s Friends has been launched as the follow-up programme to Zippy. However, children don’t have to have done Zippy to do Apple – it can be run as a programme by itself.

By : Aurelija Okunauskiene
Date : May 23, 2017
Zippy in Lithuania

Zippy’s Friends is now extremely successful and well known in Lithuania, with some 35% of all six to seven year-olds taking part in the programme. But ten years ago, this wasn’t the case at all, and times were tough for our NGO, Vaiko Labui.

By : Partnership for Children
Date : May 23, 2017

When our partners send us their annual reports, we need to have accurate statistics on school, teacher and children numbers. But the bit we enjoy reading most are the stories which tell us, more than numbers, what Zippy and Apple can do for children. Here are a few of the most recent success stories from around the world.

By : Partnership for Children
Date : Apr 11, 2017
Zippy song time

A song or a rhyme can be a great way to start or end you Zippy or Apple class. Our Norwegian partners have created a brilliant Zippy’s Friends song complete with English translation

By : Partnership for Children
Date : Feb 27, 2017
Inclusion Supplement

While the main Zippy’s Friends folder has everything you need to teach the programme, don’t forget there are lots of great ideas for extending and enhancing activities in the Inclusion Supplement. These activities have been specially designed to ensure children in your class with special educational needs (SEN) can get the most out of the programme but can be beneficial for the whole class.

By : Partnership for Children
Date : Feb 27, 2017
Apples Friends

Lucy Stevens is the SENCO of Berry Hill Primary School in Gloucestershire. She has been running Apple’s Friends with a Year 3 class since November 2016. Read our interview with her.

By : Partnership for Children
Date : Feb 27, 2017
bullying

Bullying is not only horrible to experience, but research shows it can have long-term detrimental effects on mental health. Both Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends focus on bullying and try not only to reduce bullying in the classroom but also to give children coping skills to support them now and in the future.

By : Partnership for Children
Date : Sep 14, 2016
Parent and child

Involving families in Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends is a great way to help children to use their new skills outside the classroom.

By : Partnership for Children
Date : Sep 14, 2016
Feelings

The first modules of Zippy’s Friends and Apple’s Friends focus on feelings. For young children, learning about feelings is a key skill that will help them to manage their emotions and ask for help when needed.

Why is it important to identify feelings?

By : Partnership for Children
Date : Aug 31, 2016
knitted zippy's

There are lots of things you can do to set the tone before your first Zippy class. Many schools add an extra session (session 0) to introduce the characters, the rules and show that Zippy classes will be different from other lessons.

By : Partnership for Children
Date : Jul 13, 2016

Zippy’s Friends launched in France this year, with seven schools taking part in the programme. Last month our CEO Wendy Tabuteau and Programme Director Caroline Egar went to visit to find out how the programme has been running.

By : Partnership for Children
Date : Jun 7, 2016
Family activities

We re-launched our resilience-building activities for children this week and one family got a sneak peek.

Page 1 of 2  > >>

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Apple'sFriends
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bullying
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Teachers
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academicachievement
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Suicideprevention
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mentalhealthcharities
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Children'sCommunication
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MentalHealthinSchools
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SpecialEducationNeeds
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School
Partnership for Children, 26-27 Market Place, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT1 1JH, England
Telephone : 00 44 (0) 20 8974 6004 - Registered Charity number: 1089810