Buddy Bench at MAES

From Wood to Warmth: How MAES' Buddy Bench is Changing the Dynamics of Recess
Posted on 10/30/2023
During recess for elementary school students, it’s not uncommon to notice students playing or walking alone on the playground, hoping to find new friends to enjoy an activity with. At Mason Creek Elementary School, students and teachers are being proactive about helping these students make new friends by placing Buddy Benches around the school’s playground area.

The idea for these benches originated last spring, as a Facebook post sparked a desire in a few teachers’ hearts to create three wooden benches for MAES’ playground areas. The hope for these Buddy Benches was for students to sit on them to let others know that they are lonely and are in search of friends to play with. 

To create the benches, the teachers reached out to the community, and Alexander High School senior Ethan Shaw was there to answer. Shaw, an Eagle Scout, undertook the project as part of his Eagle Scout project. For the project, he built the three benches in record time to give the school a space to help all students feel included at recess. 

“We’ve seen lots of great results with the Buddy Bench,” said a 5th grade teacher at the school. “One day at recess, a student said that they had no one to play with, and we advised them to sit on the bench. Before long, another student came along to sit with them. We love it so much!”

Since installing the benches, MAES’ teachers have taken the time to explain the purpose of the benches to their students, and they say that they have already seen them being put to use during the first few months of the school year. 

“I have noticed that some of my shy students really enjoy going over to the bench and just sitting, and other students are coming over with them to sit and talk,” said a MAES first grade teacher. “Then they get up and start playing with their new friend. I like the new friendships that are being made.”
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