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, September 29. Materials for the Buddy Bench were donated by Thrivent Financial and assembled by the St. Paul Cub Scouts Pack 279. All students attended the Connecting for Kids Beyond the BenchSM Training Program in their classrooms prior to the assembly, led by Dr. Meghan Barlow of Meghan Barlow and Associates.
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 Beyond the Bench 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.
About Connecting for Kids
Connecting for Kids (CFK) provides education and support to families with concerns about their child. We serve all families, including those children with and without formal diagnoses. CFK offers educational programs, support groups, a Parent Match Program and numerous resources.