The buddy bench is a simple idea to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground. An idea started by an 8 year old boy named Christian, who decided to call it a “Buddy Bench” and have it symbolize a place to meet and play with new friends or old friends. Read more about his story.
On August 25, 2016 SPARK unveiled its own Buddy Bench which can be found on the SPARK playground. The purpose of our buddy bench is to continue to foster a friendly SPARK community, to foster friendship and inclusion and best of all to be kind!
How a Buddy Bench Can Help
Recess is designed to provide opportunities for play, exercise and social contact, but for some recess can provide opportunities for anxiety and social struggles. A buddy bench can help.
Here is how:
- Develop the social skills to successfully navigate the playground. Perhaps a child is new to the school or their friend who they usually play with is absent that day.
- Children can learn how to compassionately respond to someone needing a buddy. When approached by classmates and asked to join in play or a conversation a child can immediately feel at ease with a sense of belonging and inclusion.
- If you want to make new friends.
- If you want to play something different than what your friends are playing.
Rules of the Buddy Bench
- The bench looks pretty, but it’s not for hanging out, there is a purpose which is to form a new friendship. Only sit on it if you can’t find anyone to play with or feel lonely and simply need a buddy.
- If you’re sitting on the bench you have to play with the first classmate who invites you.
- Remember, girls and boys, when you see someone sitting on the Buddy Bench by themselves….
- Approach them, say “Hello.” If you don’t know the person, introduce yourself.
- Start a conversation – ask him/ her how their day has been or what grade and class they are in. Perhaps you can give a compliment .
- Ask them to play with you or suggest an activity you can do together.
- Don’t make it the last time you hang out. Keep playing with your new friend.
Questions or additional insight, contact our school counselor Tamla Watkins