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Thesis

Children's perceptions of their friendships

1 December 1993

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to answer two research questions: 1) How does an elementary school teacher perceive her classrooms ability in friendship making; and 2) how do elementary student's perceive friendship making and its relevance to either their popularity or unpopularity? My research to address how children perceive their friendship was based on indicators that were taken from the review of literature.

This study took place in an alternative school located in the Pacific Northwest. The participants were first and second grade children. The observations took place inside the classroom and outside the classroom during break and lunch. The interviews took place during lunch time activities. I have protected the rights of the participants by keeping their names anonymous.

After collecting and organizing field notes and interviews, various patterns emerged in the way these particular children perceived their friendships. They tended to define their friendships by their own needs and not the needs of the "friends" involved. Moreover, children's friendships appear to be complex and very similar to adult friendships. It is my understanding that children's relationships are a direct reflection of their future relationships.


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