Buddy Bench Creates Inclusion

Buddy Bench Creates Inclusion
Posted on 12/19/2017
Buddy Benches

Need a friend with whom to play at recess?  No problem!  Students at Johnson School who might have gotten a late start to recess, for various reasons, or are in need of finding a friend, can now turn to the Buddy Bench, a program initiated by Johnson School Guidance Counselor, Luana Nair, and Positively Youth Spencer (PSY) Director, Amy Simpson.

“We were looking at ways to promote inclusion for kids, knowing that if our elementary schools have a positive vibe, and friendships are formed, and it’s a welcoming, inclusive environment, kids are less likely to have a rough road in the future.  That preventative factor is a strong resource for your community to make sure that those kids feel loved and part of a network, and that is why it was a good fit for PSY,” explained Simpson.  Drug Free Community grant funds were used to purchase the two benches, found on the east and south side of Johnson School, near both playgrounds.

Upon asking the students if they have used the bench for its intended purpose, they replied with a resounding, “YES!”  The common response as to why the students used the bench was that they didn’t have anyone with whom to play at recess.  Mrs. Nair has taught the students about empathy, so when they notice someone sitting on the bench, they will invite them to play.  Prior to sending the kids back inside to class, Mrs. Nair asked the students what they have learned through empathy and the Buddy Bench, and they all replied in unison, saying, “Can’t say can’t play!”