There are many things that parents worry about when sending their child to school. A common concern is: Will my child have someone to play with at recess? For some students, recess can be a stressful time as they navigate the social groups and find an activity they enjoy doing. Enter the Buddy Bench.
A worldwide project, The “Buddy Bench” was the brainchild of a first grade student in 2013 who wanted to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground. When Timothy’s Social Worker Mrs. Michele Schwarz heard about the program, she made it her mission to bring it to Timothy. After sharing her vision with several key staff members, Timothy’s Buddy Bench became a reality during fall of 2017.
The rules of the bench are simple…if you need a recess buddy, sit on the bench. Our P.E. teacher Ms. Jill Groenewold, explained the Buddy Bench guidelines the first week of school during Gym classes. All of our students took the “Buddy Bench Pledge” and signed with their thumbprint on a poster that hangs in the hallway. They vowed that if they saw someone sitting on the bench, they would invite them to play. And, when invited to play, you can’t decline the offer.
When asked if the Buddy Bench has been a success, Mrs. Schwarz enthusiastically shared this story. “I was recently sitting in my office that overlooks the playground and saw a child sit down on the bench. Within moments, I saw another student approach, invite them to play and off they went together. I actually took photos and thought to myself “Yes! It’s working!” (View photos above!)
Thanks to the Buddy Bench, every student at TC will never be alone during recess time. Unless of course, they want to be!
To learn more about the Buddy Bench Project, visit their website by clicking here.