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Loudoun’s Youngest Students Learn ‘5 Ways to Make a Friend’


LCPS Superintendent Aaron Spence, LCPS Social-Emotional Learning Coordinator Lindsay Orme, Arcola Elementary Assistant Principal Steve Charlish and Loudoun Education Foundation Executive Director Danielle Nadler join the cast of “5 Ways to Make a Friend” at a recent performance.
LCPS Superintendent Aaron Spence, LCPS Social-Emotional Learning Coordinator Lindsay Orme, Arcola Elementary Assistant Principal Steve Charlish and Loudoun Education Foundation Executive Director Danielle Nadler join the cast of “5 Ways to Make a Friend” at a recent performance.

By Danielle Nadler


A musical tour of local elementary schools is not only leaving catchy tunes on the minds of students, but also teaching them lasting lessons in friendship.


The therapists and actors at A Place to Be have once again partnered with Loudoun County Public Schools, Inova Loudoun Hospital and Loudoun Education Foundation to bring the 30-minute musical, “5 Ways to Make a Friend,” to Loudoun County elementary schools. The goal is to raise enough funds to bring the assembly to every kindergarten through second-grade class in LCPS.


With an upbeat message set to hard-to-forget lyrics, the musical addresses one of the biggest challenges that young people face: navigating relationships. The production spotlights five characters who are themselves learning to be a good friend, and in return make and keep friends.


“My mom says bring a Lasagna,” says Nancy, played by one of the A Place to Be actors. “...Food is a good way to make a friend.”


Through song, Nancy and her fellow classmates learn five ways they can make friends.


“Number one: be kind.

Number two: be sure to share.

Number three: include others.

Number four: accept. (Remember, everyone is different).

Number five is best. L.O.V.E!”



Students at Arcola Elementary School sing along to a performance of “5 Ways to Make a Friend,” put on by therapists and actors from A Place to Be.
Students at Arcola Elementary School sing along to a performance of “5 Ways to Make a Friend,” put on by therapists and actors from A Place to Be.


Ahead of creating the original production, A Place to Be worked with LCPS’ Social-Emotional Learning Coordinator Lindsay Orme to identify what message young students most needed to hear.


“When asked, many of our teachers are finding friendship skills to be an area where students need the most support,” Orme said.


Her team also worked with A Place to Be to create a correlating teacher lesson plan and take-home worksheets.


“The show highlights the same skills being taught in the classroom and provides a fun way for teachers to reinforce with their students how to make, and maintain, friendships,” Orme added. “The music and interactive components of the show truly capture the students’ attention, which adds fun to the learning and helps them remember the friendship strategies so they may apply them beyond the assembly.”


The Loudoun Education Foundation and A Place to Be are continuing to fundraise to ensure the show can go to the county's 61 elementary schools.


The program's largest supporter is Inova Loudoun Hospital. This is the hospital’s third straight year of donating $25,000 to support A Place to Be’s mental health programs within the schools.


"At Inova, we truly believe that we are the guardians of the community's health," Inova Loudoun Hospital President Susan Carroll said. "We're happy to partner with A Place to Be and Loudoun County Public Schools to bring this meaningful lesson to the county's youngest students. This program is helping students build social-emotional skills that will serve them for years to come."


Other donors include the Loudoun Education Foundation, Ashburn-based nonprofit The Stage, and storytelling initiative Tales and Ales.



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For more than 30 years, the Loudoun Education Foundation has demonstrated how community support can make meaningful educational impacts in the classroom and beyond. As an independent nonprofit, we engage our community to invest in critical and innovative programs that foster academic success and the well-being of students and educators. We fund programs that stimulate students’ curiosity, create exceptional learning opportunities, and provide needed resources to educators, students and families.

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