The Buddy Bench is a tool to educate children that they have to be inclusive, it's a friendly spot that a child can go to if they feel they are left out or simply need a friend to play with. The idea is that other students will notice the child on the bench and go over to them and invite the child to play. The idea was introduced in 2013 by a Grade 1 student Christian from Pennsylvania. At the time, his family was planning to move to Germany and they were looking at a website for a school overseas. Christian saw a picture of a special bench on the playground and, after learning that it was a tool designed to foster inclusion, he decided to introduce something similar to his own school in Roundtown, Pennsylvania. Ever since Christian introduced the Buddy Bench at the his school and the Buddy Bench has been popping up in play grounds across North America.
Mary Armstrong and her daughter Kennedy, who is in Grade 2 in Brockton, originally pitched the idea to the school and the concept was well received. Kennedy and her Grade 2 classmates wanted to build on the heart of Brockton which is a very welcoming and safe learning environment where every student is respected, valued and special.
The Brockton Buddy Bench was unveil on February 24th, 2016 to coincide with Pink Shirt Day, the national anti-bullying campaign. The Buddy Bench is a simple idea to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground area.
A local company from North Vancouver Shakespeare Homes and Renovations, heard what the Grade 2 class wanted to create and they generously donated the materials and labour. The bench was presented to the school prior to Pink Shirt Day, this allowed the Grade 2 students to add their own decorations to personalize the bench. They came up with words that they wanted to share with others in what the bench meant to them, they painted words like: BBF, happy, excited, friendship, peaceful, open-minded. They also created two heart shaped hearts made out of each students hand print.
The bench will be permanently placed in the new playground at Brockton, once it’s completed in summer of 2016.
Thank you to the Armstrong Family and Shakespeare Homes and Renovations, who supported the idea and the actual construction/costs of the bench.
Please feel free to check out the coverage of the BUDDY BENCH - an initiative of the grade 2 class that is meant to promote friendship and inclusion on the playground:
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