SCHOOL WIDE BUDDIES
Our Buddy program consists of upper-grade students reading playing and/or creatively working on projects with our younger students. Older children are paired with younger children from their buddy class. We have discovered that this experience provides children with stimulating opportunities for learning, skill development, and Leadership!
Younger children especially enjoy the one-to-one attention they receive from their older buddy. They make comments such as, "He makes me feel special; he says nice things to me!" and "We do lots of fun things together. She`s my friend." Teachers share that participation in this program enhances children`s cooperative learning behaviors such as taking turns, listening, sharing knowledge, praising another`s effort, helping one another, and completing a task. Due to the extra attention and assistance, the younger children`s work often improves.
They also experience pride in their ability to be helpful. Our younger children bond with their older buddy and friendships flourish as the year progresses. Buddy classes start each fall and meet twice a month throughout the year. Our children usually spend between roughly 45 minutes together and includes our special education students. This program promotes a favorable school atmosphere. At assemblies, our children sit with their buddy and during recess and lunch they may be seen playing together on the playground.
At the start of each year, our leadership team pairs new teachers together to provide the extra benefit of new social opportunites for teachers, which in turn trickle down to our students. Our schedules and activities are flexible since there are only 2-3 teachers involved. They collaborate in planning sessions usually with one outside and one inside each month. Also, if there are more children in the older class than the younger one, a child may have two buddies. Pairing older students who are good friends is not recommended since they may pay more attention to each other than to their buddy.
Activities that buddies can do together vary widely and are only limited by the imagination of our teachers and the age of our students. They might read books and stories, do science play math games, sing songs, or complete art projects.
Students who are new to our school or are English language learners have a buddy assigned to them. Those students entering MES for the first time need help to make a successful transition. Our Buddy program often times assists those children in finding their way around and answering questions.
2017-2018 Buddy Classes