Buddy bench to help children make friends at North Vancouver school

A North Vancouver elementary school is setting up a ‘buddy bench’ for children who need a little help making friends.

The rainbow-coloured bench is meant to promote inclusion and compassion among students

Brockton School's Grade 2 class helped decorate the buddy bench. The bench is meant to promote inclusion and kindness on the playground. (Christer Waara/CBC)

A North Vancouver school is setting up a 'buddy bench' for children who need a little help making friends.

The rainbow-coloured bench, covered with students' painted handprints, is meant to promote inclusion and compassion in the school.

"The idea is students, when they're out in the playground, lets say they don't' have a friend to play with … they might sit on the buddy bench. Then their peers will come and scoop them up and make sure they're involved in the activity," said Karen McCulla, head of Brockton School, a K-12 private school.

The buddy bench will eventually be located in the school's playground, where teachers and parents can supervise the children to ensure children do not bully those who sit on the bench.

A Grade 2 student and her mother suggested the school make a buddy bench after seeing the idea online. The bench was unveiled on Pink Shirt Day in February.

Brockton School's Grade 2 class helped decorate the buddy bench. The bench is meant to promote inclusion and kindness on the playground. (Christer Waara/CBC)

McCulla noticed people are already changing their behaviour.

"The behaviour that happens near or on that bench, is different. Whether it's children sitting there, whether it's adults sitting there, whether it's as parent and child or a parent and a teacher, you have sense that people are really honouring what it's about."

Children are embracing the bench and the meaning behind it, which McCulla says makes the idea behind the bench all the more powerful.

"We adults can promote ideas until we're blue in the face, but when children present it to each other and embrace that idea, and educate each other on it, that's when you're going to get the buy in," she said.

"That's when you get something that really resonates, that matters to them."

With files from CBC Radio's The Early Edition


To listen to the full interview, click the link labelled: Buddy bench comes to North Vancouver

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