Supporting Acceptance in Your K-2 Classroom
The Making Friends Program
Early Childhood
Lay the groundwork for bully-free schools with this toolbox of adaptable, practical strategies for promoting social acceptance in K–2 classrooms.
Contains Companion Materials
79215 978-1-59857-921-5
2016 152
Available Stock

Bullying prevention starts with helping young children understand and accept diversity—the earlier the better. That's why your school team needs this ready-to-use resource, a simple, fun, and effective way to promote social acceptance in the critical early years of attitude development.

Perfect for K–2 classrooms, this book presents the field-tested, research-based Making Friends program, a toolbox of adaptable, practical strategies that fit right into your regular school day. You'll help students respect and accept each other's differences through three methods: 1) reading diversity-themed stories and conducting brief whole-class discussions; 2) forming small learning groups that encourage children from diverse backgrounds to play and interact; and 3) sharing the storybooks you read with families so they can continue discussions at home. Aligned with DEC/NAEYC recommended practices and the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards, this proven program will boost students' social and academic skills as you create a welcoming, inclusive, and culturally responsive classroom.


  • enrich your existing classroom activities—circle time, class discussion, cooperative play—with important lessons on social acceptance
  • strengthen students' literacy skills while they learn to accept and celebrate differences
  • support friendships among children of diverse abilities, backgrounds, and family structures
  • lay the groundwork for bully-free school environments
  • choose books, toys, and other materials that reflect our diverse world and give young children a sense of belonging
  • implement a universal design for learning (UDL) approach to address the needs of diverse learners
  • "think on your feet" to work lessons on acceptance into small teachable moments and everyday conversations
  • increase the home-school connection with strategies parents can use with their children
  • strengthen understanding of how acceptance is developed through reflective activities for teachers and school-wide teams

PRACTICAL MATERIALS: The book includes a complete package of reproducible, adaptable materials for implementing the Making Friends program, including a sample activity schedule, discussion guides, and forms to send home with families. You'll also get step-by-step directions on working the activities into your school day, extensive lists of diversity resources, vignettes that model positive interactions, and more.

About the Authors
About the Contributors
Sam Odom

1. The Making Friends Program
Background Research
Indicators of Quality Inclusion
Program Overview

2. Attitudes
What is an Attitude?
How Are Attitudes Formed?
When Do Attitudes About Human Differences Begin?
What Are the Implications for Practice?

3. Reflective Exercises
The Attitude Exercise
Culture as a Context for Attitude Development
Remember Who You Are
Unpack Your Perceptions about Diversity
Diversity in School Environments
Vignettes: Strategies for Increasing Understanding of Diversity
Professional Development
Appendix 3.1 Attitude Exercise
Appendix 3.2 Remember Who You Are Exercise
Appendix 3.3 Unpack your Perceptions Exercise
Appendix 3.4 Diversity in School Environments Exercise

4. Setting up the MAKING FRIENDS Program
What is Universal Design for Learning?
School Literacy Component
Cooperative Learning Component
Home Literacy Component
Looking Back, Looking Ahead
Appendix 4.1 Book Selection Criteria
Appendix 4.2 Bookmark Discussion Guide
Appendix 4.3 Toys and Materials Selection Criteria
Appendix 4.4 Home Communication Letter
Appendix 4.5 Home Communication Letter in Spanish
Appendix 4.6 Parent and Child Reading Record
Appendix 4.7 Parent and Child Reading Record in Spanish

5. Resources for the School and Home Environment
Importance of a Resource-Rich Environment
Resources for Making Friends
Tips for Success
Troubles Shooting for Implementation Challenges
Looking Forward
Appendix 5.1 Books about Diversity: A List of Recommendations for Home and Classroom Use
Appendix 5.2 Web Resources for Book Collections that Represent Diversity
Appendix 5.3 Toys and materials that Depict Children from Diverse Backgrounds
Appendix 5.4 Materials Depicting Diverse Communication
Appendix 5.5 Web Resources for Classroom Materials that Reflect Diversity or Represent Differences



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Julie Summers, Midwest Book Review - March 25, 2016
"Simply stated, no elementary school educational reference collection should be with a copy of The Making Friends Program."
Gary Siperstein, Director, Center for Social Development and Education - July 30, 2015
“A much-needed text that provides teachers with the knowledge, skills, and resources to create welcoming and socially supportive classroom environments where children of all ability levels feel they belong and have the opportunity to make and sustain friends.”
Bradley Witzel, Professor, Department of Counseling, Leadership and Educational Studies, Winthrop University - July 20, 2015
“An important addition to any early childhood teacher’s classroom … [the authors] do a masterful job of explaining the research-based program while including clear guidelines, examples, applications, and resources.”
Karin Lifter, Professor and Chair, Department of Applied Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston - July 20, 2015
“Comprehensive, readable, and useful … integrates theory, research, attitude change, curriculum development, and implementation activities for children and for those who serve and love them.”
Shauna Tominey, Associate Research Scientist/Director of Early Childhood Programming, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence - July 20, 2015
“A valuable resource for bringing empathy to the classroom … Programs like these are foundational to creating a more compassionate society.”
Sara Whitcomb, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst - July 20, 2015
“An excellent model for the diverse K-3 classrooms of today.”
Rosa Santos, Professor of Special Education, University of Illinois - July 17, 2015
“Successfully translate[s] lessons from research to bring teachers a highly engaging and easy to adapt classroom-based program focused on building lasting friendships among students with and without disabilities.”
Donald Wertlieb, Partnership for Early Childhood Development & Disability Rights (PECDDR), Professor emeritus, Tufts University - July 14, 2015
“A masterpiece ready to transform diverse early childhood settings into more just and effective avenues for social inclusion and educational achievement … truly a toolbox with useful and useable instructions, guidance, and resources.”
Karen Diamond, Professor Emerita, Purdue University - July 14, 2015
“All children belong, and this book provides tested, research-based strategies that help teachers celebrate children’s differences in ways that promote understanding and acceptance and friendships.”
Laurie Dinnebeil, University of Toledo; Editor, Journal of Early Intervention - June 24, 2015
“Plentiful resources and practical strategies that will help kindergarten and primary grade teachers support meaningful inclusion of each and every child in the classroom. [This] resource should be on every early childhood teacher’s bookshelf!”