School should be a welcoming environment where children can learn, play, and support one another. Unfortunately, not all students feel included at school, which can be detrimental to their well-being, academic performance, and long-term success. Children are still in the process of developing communication skills, empathy, and understanding. They may not readily fit in to social groups or realize they are making someone feel excluded. Some children may have trouble socializing and simply avoid playing with others because they feel shy or nervous.
Therefore, psychologists maintain that children need encouragement to reach out when they feel alone and help those in need. One of the easiest, least intrusive, and enjoyable ways to offer such encouragement is to install a buddy bench on your school grounds. Read on to learn more about the story of the buddy bench movement and find out how you can get one for your school today.
The Buddy Bench Story
A buddy bench, also called a friendship bench, is a special kind of bench usually placed outside in a schoolyard or playground. The idea is that anyone who feels lonely, who needs someone to play with, or just wants someone to keep them company can sit on the buddy bench. Then, other students who notice them can come over, sit next to them, and begin interacting with them.
Buddy benches were made popular in the United States in 2013 by a first grader named Christian at Roundtown Elementary in PA. While his family was considering the possibility of moving to Germany, Christian saw a buddy bench in a picture of a playground in a German school. He told his principle about the idea, because he knew there were several children who felt left out during recess.
That was at the end of the school year. Christian’s family didn’t wind up moving to Germany, and by the fall, Christian was able to pick out the bench with his principle. He later gave a presentation to the school board and the student body. A local newspaper picked up the story, which later spread to larger news outlets and eventually around the country. Students in other schools nationwide embraced the idea that simple bench could help spread kindness, inclusiveness, and positivity.
Buddy Bench Tips and Trends
When you’re looking for a buddy bench for schools, there are a few tips you should follow. First and foremost, you’ll want the bench to look and feel special, as it’s not just any old piece of furniture. Using a fun graphic and the words “Buddy Bench” are sure to make yours stand out and encourage daily usage.
Secondly, your buddy bench will become a beloved and sentimental spot where fond memories are made and laughs are shared. To avoid future disappointment due to weather damage, vandalism, and wear over time, choose a galvanized steel bench. Its sturdy, rugged construction can be dressed up with personalized messages inviting kids to sit down and connect, or customized with your school logo and colors.
The best buddy bench for your school is waiting to be brought to its new home, and there’s no reason not to involve your students in this meaningful, heartwarming movement. To browse exciting buddy bench designs, look no further than Outdoor School Furniture. You can from their styles or submit your own, so you can be sure you’ll get a bench that is as beautiful and enduring as each friendship it fosters.