St Kevin’s implements Better Buddies as part of its Wellbeing program.
‘Better Buddies builds relationships. The Better Buddies Framework is one of a number of programs known as ‘peer support’. They are very engaging and involve activities that children naturally enjoy, such as talking to one another, playing games, active participation and recognition for all their efforts. Buddy programs encourage a relationship between older and younger peers through regular collaboration between their classes and foster connections across the entire school community. They focus on the social contexts in which bullying occurs and address bullying by encouraging children to form positive and supportive relationships with one another.
“Peer supporters are students who work within the school environment to support others to participate as active cooperative and happy school community members. Students who are members of peer support teams learn to listen to and support fellow students. Peer support promotes students’ willingness to help each other and create a safe and happy environment.” (Cross, 2004).
Buddy systems make it easier for younger students to ask an older student for help with a problem. This is important, as we know that many young people find it difficult to ask for help. Further, buddy systems work well because older students have greater credibility within the school and are more approachable. They are more likely to demonstrate understanding and experience in relation to the particular situations that younger peers face. Buddy systems have been shown to lead the development of stronger pro-social values and improved social skills in all students, especially the skills of listening and conflict management in the older buddies. Older buddies accept some responsibility for the behaviours of their younger buddies. They are more motivated to behave well and act kindly in order to impress their young buddy and be a positive role model.
The Better Buddies Framework is designed to span across the full school year. Each fortnight students have
Better Buddies can strengthen the school community by helping to challenge stereotypes, misconceptions or fears that students hold about younger or older age groups. Students feel valued and supported, help teach important social skills and create a caring ethos in the school. Better Buddies can create a connection between older and younger buddies, enabling them to bond more closely with their schooling, and increase the likelihood of
Better Buddies Resource Booklet
The Better Buddies program is an initiative of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation.