Rainbow Buddy Benches are coming to NMPS. Keep a look out in the school yard for a colourful change to happen to two of our park benches.
The idea came from Kristina Forbes when she read about a young student Christian from Roundtown Elementary School, Pennsylvania. Here is his video: What is a Buddy Bench?
This is Christian pictured on his bench in 2013.
How does the buddy bench work?
If students feel lonely in the playground, without anything to do, they can go to the buddy bench, and another student will come to the bench and ask if they want to play or talk.
If two people are sitting at the bench, they could ask each other if they want to play. This is a great way to help other kids who might feel lonely or left out from time to time. It shows we care about others when we ask others to play. It is hoped that new friendships will be made because of the Rainbow Buddy Bench.
The bench is meant to provide a physical space where children who are lonely can go. When other kids see them there, they can ask them to play, or talk or walk.
Let’s spread the message of inclusion and kindness!
Kristina's Motivation for Organising Buddy Chairs for NMPS
Every parent loves their child. Sometimes more than life itself. You would do anything for them. But what about when you are faced with a situation where you can’t *fix* the problem. This is what I encountered upon asking my then 7 year old, how his day was when I picked him up from school one day. “Not so good”, he replied. “Why not?” I asked him shocked and confused. “No one would play with me.” I was devastated! My child is a good kid. How could someone not want to play with him? Not being able to fix this for him broke my heart.
Months later, I came across an article which peeked my interest. It was a possible solution for my son James. It was about a boy named Christian Bucks who lived in America. There was a possibility that his family would be moving to Germany. They were looking at possible schools in the area on websites. Christian came across a picture he saw and was interested to find out more about it. Looking further into it, he discovered is was a ‘Buddy Bench’ for lonely kids at school. The buddy bench was a simple idea to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship in the playground.
Christian and his family never made it to Germany, but the Buddy Bench made its way to Christian’s school. He contacted the principal and explained what the buddy bench was and the principal agreed to get one for the school. Since then, more than 200 schools around the world have followed Christian’s lead.
There are buddy benches in many states across the United States, and in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, India, Italy and Canada, according to Christian's family. “It's about having a place on the playground where a kid can feel comfortable going, and know they can feel accepted by their peers”.
Why am I telling you this you may ask? I put the idea to our principal Sally, who was very happy about the idea, as she had always wanted a Rainbow Friendship Seat. So with the help of City Wide donating benches to the school, the ‘Rainbow Buddy Bench’ was born!
Huge thanks again to Rob for his help in installing the benches.
Also, thank you to NMPS staff who will be discussing how to use the Rainbow Buddy Benches with their students.