Need This New Innovation? A Buddy Bench To Ease Playground Loneliness
With all of the stories coming out of schools about shootings and bullying, it is nice to find a spot of positive news. It comes in the form of a Buddy Bench. The bench is the idea of second-grader Christian Bucks at Roundtown Elementary School in York, Pennsylvania and is designed to create a safe space for lonely or sad children to go to connect with other children so that they can make friends and create a larger support group around them.
The idea isn't 100% unique. Bucks saw the basic idea in a photograph of a school yard in Germany when his family was considering an international assignment. It was a thought that captured his imagination and he ran with it. While his parents were very supportive of his idea, it was the principal and staff of the elementary school that helped Bucks' vision become a reality. Principal Matthew Miller sourced the bench and the signage and worked with Bucks to select the style and color.
Bucks hopes that kids sitting on the bench will be asked to play or even just talk. Two kids sitting on the bench could at least connect with each other. It is often the friendships that are created on the playground that last a lifetime and they are certainly very important to our formative years.
Other schools around the country are also starting to install buddy benches. Perhaps establishing the idea of peer support over peer pressure in young people may one day lead to a reduction of bullying and violence in schools.
The bottom line, according to Bucks, is to "grow our dream circle of friends."
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Laurie Kay Olson
Clever Problem Solvers