Submitted by Susan Abramson
One of our beloved Lower School traditions is that of the Lower School Buddy program. Children and teachers alike both cherish this time for younger and older students to spend time together around crafts, learning activities and holiday celebrations. Younger children especially enjoy the attention they get from their older buddies and make comments such as, “My buddy is nice and is definitely smart!” and “My buddy has great ideas and is so nice to me.”
Older children enjoy the opportunity to mentor older children! 4th grade student, Elliot shares, “I have a chance to teach my buddy how to be responsible, and I like taking care of him and helping him do things he doesn’t know how to do.”
This year, fourth-grade students meet regularly with their first-grade buddies. At the beginning of the year first- and fourth-grade teachers take all the children outside to play, and as they play, teachers observe children as they plan to create the best partnerships for the school year. Throughout the year, the buddies get together to read stories, play games and to work on particular crafts. This week, first and fourth graders worked together to make Valentines crafts for their loved ones.
Even when they are not making cards alongside their teachers and classmates, buddies Jackson (first grade) and Davide (fourth grade) sometimes give one another cards throughout the week!
Jackson says, “I like getting to know my buddy. He is really cool, and he is the best buddy in the world.” Davide, smiling, chimes in: “I like meeting my buddies because we get to spend time together. Being older you have a responsibility to take care of your buddy.” Both Davide and Jackson agree it’s like having a brother – for Davide a little brother, and for Jackson an older.
It’s a joy to see younger and older children playing, working and learning alongside one another, and even more of a joy to see the bonds that form over the course of the year.