A friendship circle is an intentional gathering of children or youth for the purpose of getting to know each other and possibly developing friendships. Friendship circles can have their roots in any social setting but most commonly they tend to be initiated at schools. It is a wonderful opportunity for the person with a disability to be surrounded by and mutually contribute to conversations, games, parties and social encounters.
As each friendship circle is initiated, information is sent out to parents and then parents and children jointly decide about joining the group. Letters and permission forms are a part of the administrative process to get the group going.
Every friendship circle is unique and develops in its own way. Circle members are encouraged to play or meet with each other outside of the circle time during recesses and at play dates. Circle participants are encouraged to exchange phone numbers or e-mail addresses so they can be in touch with each other outside of school. Among other socially engaging outcomes, one desired outcome is to develop one-on-one friendships with participants.
The partnership between the family, community, school and coordinator can contribute greatly to the nurturing of these relationships.