Every other Thursday, the elementary school comes alive with students visiting classes across the school as part of our bi-monthly buddy program. A highlight of the elementary schedule, the buddy program refers to a structure which involves older students being paired with younger students. Students in Upper Elementary, Grades 2-5, take the role of being older buddies and are paired with students in Lower Elementary, from Discovery to Grade 1.
At UNIS Hanoi, every elementary student gets to meet and interact with their buddies every two weeks. When buddy classes meet, they have the opportunity to develop relationships and friendships and be helpful and supportive to each other. Students spend time working on developmentally appropriate structured activities with their buddies. Activities may range from shared reading, collaborating on projects, cross-grade units of work, working with technology and celebrating student work via student portfolios.
A key purpose of the buddy program at our school is to develop positive relationships between the younger and older students, enhancing the sense of a friendly and supportive school community. There are benefits for the older buddy in developing leadership skills, responsibility and taking pride in their ability to be helpful. The buddy system teaches, and gives children the opportunity to practise, the important values of respect, care, valuing difference, responsibility, friendship and more.
A strategic goal across the Elementary School this year is to continue building a culture of kindness and respect across the community. From helping new students transition into school, developing empathy, social skills to promoting inclusion, the buddy program has proven to be a hugely important and much loved part of our calendar. Do ask your child about their buddy sessions. Who is their buddy this year? What do they most enjoy?
Nitasha Crishna Chaudhuri
Lower Elementary Deputy Principal
Better Buddies: Creating Friendly and Caring Schools https://www.betterbuddies.org.au/bb-parents/benefits-to-your-child.phps
Buddy program benefits: New South Wales: Education http://www.dec.nsw.gov.au/about-us/news-at-det/news/buddy-program-helps-all-students
Transition a Positive Start to School: State Department Victoria, Dept of Education and Early Childhood Development. http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/childhood/professionals/learning/trkpp6.pdf