This qualitative study is characterized by field observations in the natural setting of a middle-class, suburban elementary school. Observations took place during September and October of 1995 and focused on first grade and fourth grade students. The purpose of this study was to discover how first and fourth grade children form friendships and how the conception of friendship differs among these children. My observations were recorded in field notes and audio tape recordings, student interviews and surveys. I then examined. the data to study how children form friendships and how their conception of friendship changes. The findings indicate that children do progress through a series of developmental stages as they form friendships. As children progress through these developmental stages, their conception of friendship changes as well.
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