Christ the King Catholic Primary Bass Hill students have a new space to make friends and practice a little kindness.
The school introduced a ‘buddy bench’ for students at an assembly on October 15, donated by Bunnings’ Bankstown Airport store. Children can sit on the bench when they are feeling lonely and other students will invite them to play.
Family educator Manuela De Almeida said the bench tied in with the school’s focus on the values of Mary Mackillop, including kindness.
“I explained to the children how the buddy bench worked and said it’s kindness on our part to look out for who is sitting on the bench and then ask them to come and play in our games, because we don’t want anyone feeling lonely or excluded,” she said.
“The bench came in at the right time for the community and for the children. There was a need for it, and it is a very Mary Mackillop thing to never see a need without doing something about it.”
Mrs De Almeida said the bench was also a space where children could resolve conflict.
“When a group of children disagree about something they can go sit down and try to resolve the issue, work it out and be buddies again,” she said.
“For the shy child or the one who is scared of rejection – of approaching a group and asking to play and they say no – it alleviates so much pressure to try and be accepted.
“Friendships are important and it just opens up a whole new avenue of relationship building. It’s about making a child feel welcomed and comfortable and loved in the school environment, which they should feel safe and secure in.”
Other Sydney Catholic schools who have a Buddy Bench are:
- St Aloysius Catholic Primary Cronulla
- St Mary’s Catholic Primary Georges Hall
- St Christopher’s Catholic Primary Holsworthy
- St Francis Xavier Catholic Primary Lurnea
- Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Primary Sefton