The Importance of Buddies
A St. Michael's Tradition
On Friday, the Class of 2018, led by Mrs. Anguilla and Mrs. Huth, met their buddies from Ms. Boyle and Mrs. Emmert’s Kindergarten classes for their buddies activity. A tradition at St. Michael’s, the Eighth Grade - Kindergarten Buddies Program is something that the children in both grades look forward to every year. The program not only acknowledges the Eighth Graders as school leaders, it also contributes to a positive and caring school culture.
Our buddies meet at least once a month to engage in play and cooperative learning activities. It is truly inspiring to watch the Eighth Grade mentor the younger students with patience, poise, and sensitivity.
For their initial meeting, students created seasonally appropriate “Buddy Pumpkin” art. As they designed their masterpieces, buddies enjoyed a snack and got to know each other. Eighth Graders encouraged their buddies’ creative sides while helping them with fine motor skills. The children discussed their families and their favorite things, finding commonalities along the way. Everyone was a little sad when it was time to go - buddies were high-fiving, waving, and even hugging goodbye!
More than just camaraderie
The Buddy program also:
- develops responsibility and empathy
- builds self confidence
- promotes inclusion
- enhances cooperative learning behaviors such as: taking turns, listening, sharing knowledge, praising another`s effort, helping one another, and completing a task
- sharpens social skills
- strengthens the school community
Eighth Graders love the sense of responsibility they feel for their younger buddies and are therefore motivated to be the best buddy they can be. Activities that buddies can do together vary widely and are only limited by the imaginations of the students and their teachers. They can read books, write stories, plan skits, play games, sing songs, go on scavenger hunts, complete art projects, or even go on field trips. Both classes love this special time they spend together each month.
Our Kindergartners and their Eighth Grade buddies form friendships that are lasting and strong, and their relationships become increasingly special as the year progresses. Ask any Lower School student who their buddy was when they were in Kindergarten, and you are sure to get enthusiastic and warm memories!
At the end of the year, Eighth Grade students will attend the Kindergarten graduation to celebrate with their buddies. This final gathering epitomizes an amazing year of learning and relationship-building that all the students will carry with them as they embark on new journeys in the following year.