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Buddy Bench helps pupils develop frienships

Counselor brings concept to school

Posted: April 23, 2014 - 12:07pm
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If a pupil at North Augusta Elementary School wants companionship, sitting on the Buddy Seat will let other pupils know. Taylor, the school's guidance counselor, said she will use the bench when helping pupils. ''I know how important friendship is, not only at the elementary level but all through life,'' she said.  Jon-Michael Sullivan
Jon-Michael Sullivan
If a pupil at North Augusta Elementary School wants companionship, sitting on the Buddy Seat will let other pupils know. Taylor, the school's guidance counselor, said she will use the bench when helping pupils. ''I know how important friendship is, not only at the elementary level but all through life,'' she said.

Sometimes it can be hard for children to ask to join in play.

However, a new initiative at North Augusta Elementary School aims to help ease that process.

A Buddy Bench was introduced to the pupils April 16.

“It’s on the playground and if a child feels they need a friend, need someone to play with or are feeling a little lonely that day, they can sit on the bench. The other children will know that this child needs a friend so the other children would say ‘Hey, do you want to come join us’?” said guidance counselor Jean Taylor.

She decided to bring the idea to the school after seeing a segment on a morning show about a boy in Pennsylvania who learned about Buddy Benches while doing research on schools in Germany, where his family might have been moving. Although they ended up not moving there, he liked the idea and decided to build one at his school.

Since then, several schools around the country have placed Buddy Benches on their playgrounds.

North Augusta Elementary’s Buddy Bench was placed on the playground used by the first, second and third grades. Adams Supply and Lowe’s of North Augusta donated supplies to create the bench and Taylor’s husband, Steve, along with fifth graders Jalen Blow and Kevon Barnes, built it.

The school’s art teacher Karen Thompson then put the finishing touches on it and painted the words Buddy Bench on the bench.

Taylor plans to use the bench in her guidance lessons, she said.

“I know how important friendship is, not only at the elementary level but all the way through life. It’s important to me that the students develop good, strong friendships at this level. I want to be sure there are no children out there who don’t have someone to play with,” said Taylor.

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