Elementary school kids who are feeling lonely, sad, or lacking friends now have a solution called the “buddy bench.” The idea at Glebe Street Elementary School is for a child who is feeling lonely to be able to go and sit on a buddy bench. Other students on the playground who see the child will come over to ask the child’s name and find out if he or she wants to play.
Glebe Principal Abbey North explained the buddy bench to students at their monthly morning program through role playing exercises and a video some of the students made. As part of the Great Kindness Challenge of 2017 (held nationwide) January 23-27, students are encouraged to complete acts of kindness during the week (refer to the GKC checklist of kind acts). Glebe hopes to be recognized as a Kindness Certified School. The elementary PTA will donate five cents for each act of kindness completed by students during the week (up to $500) and the school will purchase buddy benches for the playground.
The type of bullying or “bucket-dipping” that the bench aims to reduce is exclusion on the playground. Bucket-dipping is the term we use to teach students about bullying behaviors.
The playground is one area of the school where children may feel alone or they are not socially sure how to fit in sometimes because it is unstructured. For some children that is a very hard time of the day. In a perfect world, nobody would need to sit on the bench. In the meantime, it will be a friendly way to let kids know when someone needs a buddy to play with.