Broadmor Students Spread Kindness Through “Buddy Bench”
Feeling excluded is oftentimes painful, lonely, and confusing for children. At Broadmor Elementary, students and staff have come up with a clever way to promote new friendships and a school culture built on inclusion and kindness through their “Buddy Bench.” Located next to the playground, the bench is a way for students needing a friend to communicate that need to their peers.
“If you don’t have a friend, this is where you go to get one!” explained First-Grade Student Kingston Guntei.
The Buddy Bench was a project led by last year’s student council. With the help of Third-Grade Teacher Lyana Guevara and Teacher on Special Assignment Andrea Wald, the students worked on designing the Buddy Bench, researched ways to fund the bench, and also took leadership in communicating the purpose of the bench to their peers. The bench was fully funded by the school last year and implemented in October of this year.
“We have had several instances in which students needed a friend, or simply felt lonely or sad and have had their classmates step up and be there for them,” said Guevara. “We have even had kindergarteners and first-graders be friended by their older classmates, fourth- or fifth-graders.”
“I used the Buddy Bench when it was lunch recess and I sat there for five seconds and then two friends came over and asked me to play,” said First-Grade Student Adrita Hossain. “It made me feel happy.”
When observing the playground in action, many students make a habit to wander to the Buddy Bench “just in case” there might be someone in need. The bench has proven as a great way for Broadmor students to build their community and be leaders for their peers as well.
The Buddy Bench is not the only way Broadmor is working toward creating a more inclusive culture. The implementation of the Second Step social skills curriculum, PBIS, and leadership from classroom teachers has been a coordinated effort to positively impact the school’s culture.
“I truly believe that the Buddy Bench has made a positive impact for children that need a friend, or want to be included and helps to ensure every child has a place on the playground,” said Broadmor Principal Barry Fritch. “It makes a difference every day!”
Thank you to Broadmor staff and students for making a positive difference in the lives of our children!