I opened two gifts this morning…they were my eyes


The promotion of wellbeing is central to the Department of Education mission to “enable children and young people to achieve their full potential”. Promoting the wellbeing of our children and young people is a shared community responsibility and is everybody’s business.

We have a whole school approach to wellbeing in our school called the incremental ‘Weaving Wellbeing’ Programme. It is an evidence based Irish Programme and is an integral part of our SPHE Curriculum.

nagle-rice school well-being

Friends for Life

Friends For Life Initiative

FRIENDS for Life is a social skills and resilience curriculum that has been recognised by the World Health Organisation as an effective tool set to prevent anxiety for children. It is proven to reduce anxiety and provide participants with strategies to rise to life’s challenges, and bounce back from setbacks and adversity. FRIENDS for Life also improves social-emotional skills, the ability to focus, confidence, the capacity to relax, regulate emotions, and develop empathy.

FRIENDS is an acronym for the skills taught throughout the programme:

  • Feelings (talk about your feelings and care about other people’s feelings)
  • Relax (do “milkshake” breathing, have some quiet time)
  • I can try! (we can all try our best)
  • Encourage (step plans to happy home)
  • Nurture (quality time together doing fun activities)
  • Don’t forget – be brave! (practice skills everyday with family/friends)
  • Stay happy

Friends for Life empowers participants to cope with the emotions of themselves and others by engaging with positive thoughts, emotions and self regulation strategies.

The program also teaches creative alternatives to solving problems they would have previously shied away from, fostering the development of confidence and self esteem.

Most importantly, FRIENDS for Life encourages smiling, happiness and bravery, and facilitates smooth transitions into adolescence.

More information on the programmes can be found by following the links below.  Presentation on NEPS’ research on the implementation of Friends by Irish Primary teachers:

Irish Primary and Post Primary teachers/principals’ reflections of the Friends programmes.

Further information on the program can be found on the author’s website

Many NEPS psychologists deliver training to teachers to deliver the programmes in schools. For further information about programmes that may be running in your locality, contact your school’s NEPS psychologist.

Zippy’s Friends – Teaching coping & resilience skills

Zippy Friends

Zippy’s Friends is a social and emotional learning programme for 5-7 year olds which meets all elements of the Mental Wellbeing requirements of the statutory guidance for Relationships and Health Education for primary schools.

Zippy’s Friends is based on the coping theory and has been evaluated and found to improve children’s coping skills, social skills, emotional literacy, improve the class climate and reduce bullying. Read about the evidence behind Zippy’s Friends and the impact the programme has had on children and teachers.

Zippy’s Friends is based around a series of stories and the programme has 24 sessions of 45 minutes. The activities and stories are suitable for children of all abilities. The Additional Activities Booklet can be used as a follow-on programme to run Zippy’s Friends for a second year or to reinforce and consolidate the learning of the programme. There are also Home Activities to reinforce learning at home with parents and carers.

The six modules cover:

  • Feelings
  • Communication
  • Friendship
  • Conflict
  • Change and Loss
  • Moving forward

Children develop their own positive strategies to deal with problems through engaging activities: listening to stories, discussion, games, role-play and drawing. Zippy’s Friends was revised and updated in 2022 based on teacher feedback to include new activities enabling schools to run the programme over two years. There are also updated story illustrations created by illustrator Lisa Williams to give the programme a fresh, new modern look.