The other day while at the park after school, I witnessed my son being left out by a group of boys who are often playing together. These boys are in a different pre-k class than my son, so they knew each other well, but when my kid tried joining them, it was clear they weren't interested in adding one to their group. The look on my 4-year-old son's face was heartbreaking. This happens to a lot of kids of all ages and a York, Pennsylvania, second grader named Christian Bucks decided to do something about it so kids wouldn't feel so lonely or left out when it does happen.
He proposed a "buddy bench" be installed at the playground his school uses, and his principal Matthew Miller at Roundtown Elementary School loved the idea. It's so nice to know that a second grader was that concerned about other kids' feelings that he took the initiative to do something about it in a big way.
A buddy bench is a brightly painted and welcoming bench near where kids play that children can sit on when they are feeling left out or want a buddy to play with. Christian first saw the bench in a brochure for a school in Germany and felt the idea was too good not to share with his own school. He said he hopes the bench will "grow our dream circle of friends." Wow. How adorable is that? I love this kid and wished he was there in the park when my son was experiencing being left out. I wish there was a buddy bench! Hmmm. Perhaps I'll go to the next PTA with this same idea. Christian! Very inspiring.
It was also reported that another school, St. Catharine’s Primary in Chipping Campden, England, also installed a buddy bench to help kids make friends. The headteacher there said she noticed many kids "demonstrate such care of each other" because of it.
In a time when we hear so much about bullying, it's nice to learn of kids helping other kids, supporting each other, being there for each other, and building friendships. Or just having a safe haven to go to like a bench when their feelings get hurt or feel like they have no one to play with. The kids at the school can have fun decorating it and make it a bench kids will want to sit on, too. Great idea!
What do you think of the buddy bench? Would your child or child's school benefit from having one?
Image via Anathea Utley/Flickr