Several Year 6 students from the English Primary Section came up with a novel idea to ensure everyone here at IIL has a happy playtime. Their “Buddy Bench” concept began as a conversation and grew into a concrete approach to tackling loneliness in our playground. Three girls who launched the project, Blythe, Gracia Mariana and Liva answered our questions.
« What is the buddy bench? »
The buddy bench is a bench that you can sit on if you need a friend and hopefully someone will come and play with you. The buddy bench is important to someone who has nobody to play with; they can be guaranteed a friend.
« What do you hope to achieve from hanging the buddy bench? »
We all hope that the buddy bench can not only help people to find a new friend that they never knew about but also that students of IIL can never be left out or be lonely. As I have experienced in the past, I’ve been left alone with no one to play with, which really ruined my day and I don’t want anyone else to experience the sadness of being alone. Once I heard about the Buddy Bench I knew it would be an instant success.
« And how has it been so far? »
It has worked really well since we put it up on the fifth of December. We saw a girl sitting at the bench. Me and my friends were about to ask the girl if she wanted to play with us, but some girls saw her at the bench and asked her if she wanted to play with them. I could tell instantly that the girl’s face lit up with excitement and joy. Then later that day at lunchtime, I saw the girl playing with the same, kindhearted people she met whilst on the Buddy Bench.
« What inspired you to create a buddy bench for IIL? »
I was inspired to create this buddy bench when I was having a conversation with my friend, Gigi. It was at her Halloween party. We were talking about our old schools. But when she mentioned ‘buddy bench’ I just had to know more! So I questioned Gigi about it and discussed the matter of how to make one here at IIL. So when we got back to school I was walking to the head teachers office with Gigi… And then Liv came along and asked, » Where are you guys going? »
And I replied, « Were off to tell Miss Power about something called a Buddy Bench! »
« Can I join it? It sounds awesome! » she asked.
« Of course! » We said in unison, « It would be great to have just one more member. »
So we went to Miss Power’s office and told her all about it!