If there’s one thing all parents worry about, it’s their child feeling lonely or isolated at school. It doesn’t matter the age; the thought of your child struggling to connect with peers is a common fear. That’s because most parents know that feeling included, building relationships, and having a sense of belongingness is an important part of child development. But, when you can’t accompany your child at recess, how do you know that they’re having a healthy social experience? That’s where the buddy bench comes in! The buddy bench was created by a student who wanted more inclusiveness in his own school, which is what makes the buddy bench so powerful. This special bench is a designated place for students to go when they’d like to play with others, but they’re not sure how. Here are a few reasons why the buddy bench has improved inclusiveness during recess.
Fosters Relationships with New Students
Being a new student at a new school is tough for any kid. Even if your child is outgoing, making new friends is a challenge for most elementary school students. When they’re in the classroom, there’s structure around their communication and socialization. But when it’s time for recess, new students can suddenly feel lost and anxious about how to handle the period of free play. The buddy bench provides a safe place for newcomers to build relationships. All they have to do is sit down on the buddy bench, and other students following the buddy bench pact will invite them to play.
Helps Shy Students Express Interest
For introverts, recess can be a struggle. Shy kids may not have the personality to push themselves into a game or conversation with other students. Even if they are interested in joining in, quieter kids can easily become withdrawn and isolated. The buddy bench gives them a voice! Shy students can express their interest in socialization simply by sitting down on the designated bench. This signifies an invitation for connection. When it’s hard to find the words to ask for support, the buddy bench speaks for them, so they don’t have to.
Opportunities for Students to Help One Another
Not only does the buddy bench help students who are seeking a social connection, but it also helps those who want to be helpers! When given the opportunity, kids can provide support, kindness, and compassion to one another. The buddy bench allows more outgoing students to be there for their peers. Being helpful and displaying acts of kindness are essential lessons in child development. It can build confidence, self-esteem, and emotional intelligence.
Promotes a Safe and Positive Environment
While some students see the playground as a place for fun with friends, other students would prefer to avoid it. That’s because anything can happen during free play. Being picked last for a team sport or not being invited to join a game of hopscotch can be devastating for kids in elementary school. The buddy bench creates a positive and emotionally safe environment for some students that are simply having a bad day. If something hurtful happens on the playground, the buddy bench comes in handy because it lets other students know that a peer needs support. Are you a parent or administrator interested in an engraved bench for your school? Contact Outdoor School Furniture today to learn more!