St. Paul Lutheran students celebrate new Buddy Bench
The students of St. Paul Lutheran School in Westlake took part in a special assembly to celebrate the school’s new Buddy Bench on Thursday, Sept. 29. Materials for the Buddy Bench were donated by Thrivent Financial and assembled by the St. Paul Cub Scouts Pack 279. All students attended Connecting for Kids' "Beyond the Bench" training program in their classrooms prior to the assembly, led by Dr. Meghan Barlow.
The purpose of the Buddy Bench is to foster friendships by providing children with a tool to identify those that want a peer to play with at recess and encourage those already engaged in play to invite others to join in the fun.
Although many schools across the country have installed a Buddy Bench, without the proper training, students aren’t sure how to use the bench and it soon loses its meaning and becomes just another place to sit on the playground. But the Connecting for Kids training program uses role-play scenarios to teach children ways they can use the Buddy Bench to make connections with peers. Students also learn techniques to improve social and conflict resolution skills. As part of the training, students receive “Be a Buddy” bracelets to remind them of the important role they each play in making others feel welcome and accepted during recess.
To date, Connecting for Kids has provided its Beyond the Bench Training Program to 10 area schools.
Lorilynn Wolf serves as the Communications Director for Connecting for Kids.