School Shout Out: The buddy bench at Fairfield Elementary
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) —
The idea of the buddy bench here in the US started in 2013. A first grader was planning on moving to Germany with his family and he was researching schools and he saw the buddy bench on the playground photos. His family did not move to Germany, but he liked the idea and told his school about it. Since then, schools across America have started putting them on their playgrounds and the results are amazing.
One of the first Central Ohio schools to put in the Buddy Bench is Fairfield Elementary in Pickerington. The idea is simple: if you don't have someone to play with then sit on the bench and other students are encouraged to invite you to come play.
When I went to Fairfield Elementary, I stayed inside one of the classrooms to see how well it worked. We had one third grader, Avery, put on a microphone and go sit on the bench. It took less than ten seconds before another kid approached Avery. We had Avery tell the kids that she would come play with them shortly to continue our experiment. Student after student kept coming up to her. One of the most surprising students was another fellow third grader, Kaden. Kaden asked if Avery wanted to play basketball. Avery told him that she would soon be there and he started to turn back to the basketball courts, but he stopped and said he would wait. Even after Avery told him to go on again, he said he would wait for her and then a first grader came over, crying after a disagreement with his friend, and sat down on the bench. Kaden came over and put his arm around the student and comforted him and asked if the first grader wanted to play some basketball. Things got worked out and I asked Kaden what he said because it was hard to hear on the microphone. Kaden said that the first grader was sad and told Kaden that he didn't know how to play basketball. Kaden said that he told the first grader he would teach him how to play basketball.
The school's counselor said that watching the students inviting other students to play is a very uplifting thing to watch. Instead of a lonely student spending the time at recess watching other kids having fun, they are invited to play with others. Mr. Z, the counselor, said that he thinks that all of the students knows what it is like to be that student on the bench and not having someone to play with at recess. It was something that I would agree with because the students approaching someone on the bench were very excited to have someone come join them on the playground. This School Shout Out goes out to the entire Fairfield Elementary.