Everyone needs a mentor; in work, in life, in school. It is important that our children are surrounded by positive role models. Who better than their older Elementary School peers?!
The BYDS buddy system strengthens our school community and helps to challenge stereotypes, misconceptions or fears that students hold about younger or older age groups. It also helps students to feel valued and supported, teach important social skills, and creates a caring ethos in the school.
Younger children especially enjoy the one-to-one attention they receive from their older buddies. Our buddy system teaches, and gives children the opportunity to practice, the important values of respect, care, valuing differences, responsibility, friendship, and including others. Through looking after and caring for smaller children who are just starting school, older children learn the skills associated with empathy and compassion through activities in the classroom and during school events throughout the year.
Our program began with only first and fifth grade buddies. Our fifth graders model and mentor their first grade buddies weekly during Kabbalat Shabbat services and also enjoy monthly activities. The first graders look up to and adore their buddies and build lasting relationships between the two grades. Our buddies start in the 3s. 3s are paired with 2nd grade, Pre-K with 3rd, Kinder with 4th, and, of course 1st with 5th.
Our students keep their same buddies and enjoy activities together monthly with the goal of forming a strong brotherly/sisterly bond.