Written By: Demetrise Brown, Counselor; Weiwei Ma, Character Education; Sarah Lumley, Grade 1 Homeroom Teacher
This year, the Elementary School (ES) Student Council created a new way to help children make friends. Developing new strong friendships is a part of healthy child development. Sometimes children have difficulty creating friendships and need support to do this. The Student Council designed and painted two benches for the ES, with one to come to the Early Childhood Center (ECC) in the fall. The children decided to name these "Buddy Benches" to create a caring space for children who are looking for someone to play with.
The Student Council explained the purpose of the benches and taught each class how to use them. If a child does not have someone to play with, they can go sit on one of the Buddy Benches. When other children see someone on a Buddy Bench, they will be courageous to go and ask them to play. The Buddy Bench is not a new idea. In fact, it was adapted from schools in Ireland. Ms. Julie Lawton, Head of School, presented this idea to the Student Council and they thought this would benefit the students at BCIS.
A group of Grade 2 students participated in a writing workshop outside of school, where they received a monetary reward for their writing. They demonstrated action by deciding to donate the money to the Student Council. This group of students chose to use the money to buy toys to be used with the Buddy Benches. Therefore, each Buddy Bench has its own box of toys located next to it.
This is a new concept for our BCIS community. It will take continued education on the importance of inclusion. Hopefully the Buddy Benches will be a way to make every student feel included.