There is nothing like your very own buddy. We can also have many buddies. Classrooms can be filled with buddies. Teachers, you can make this happen especially in the younger grades so that it becomes the “new normal” in our upper grades. It’s not too late in the upper grades but it is easier when it begins when children are basically color blind until they learn differently. Each child has a new buddy each week until every child has experienced each child in his classroom as his buddy.
Why does this work? The word buddy itself connotes friendship. The Thesaurus gives synonyms such as pal, playmate, companion, and partner. Wikipedia says you are one of a pair or a team. Well now, that certainly says a great deal for the idea that the buddy system can overcome the bully system amongst children of all ages.
The way this works is magic. I have witnessed it many times and teachers can not get over how something so simple can resolve many social issues in a classroom filled with diversity. My buddies all look different, feel differently and were raised differently. But they are my buds and so I too become color blind, diversity blind and open up to a great wealth of knowledge and understanding about the world around me. Classrooms are just small communities that mirror out global one. When children get to experience someone as their buddy, they become protective and more empathetic and that is where we are heading. You do not bully your buddy..you take care of him/her.
I read a wonderful new approach in the playground. It is called the Buddy Bench. When children are feeling isolated, lonely or picked on in the playground, they go to the buddy bench. A child has the opportunity to extend their hand in friendship and kindness. Oh my goodness, it is working!
This started with one young man wanting to make a difference for children who were left out on the playground. Now there are many varieties of Buddy Benches available. Does your school have one?
I have attached a link for you to see.
The Buddy Bench Story
Being emotionally intelligent is having empathy and no greater way than to experience oneself as a buddy!