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How the Buddy Bench Began

There are several origin stories for the buddy bench or friendship bench. One begins with a young boy named Christian Bucks. When he was in second grade, Christian's family considered a move from the United States to Germany. While looking at schools in Germany, Christian stumbled upon something interesting — a special bench in the playground where kids could sit if they were looking for a friend.

Christian loved the idea so much that, even though his family didn't move, he brought the concept back to his school in York, Pennsylvania. He thought a buddy bench would be perfect for his school playground. The school administration agreed, and a friendship bench soon appeared on the playground, gaining national media attention in the process.

Christian wasn't alone in promoting buddy benches in schools. Founded by Florida elementary student Victoria Portela and her mother, the My Buddy Bench Project has also spread the word about the benefits of a friendship bench in schools.

The impact of these initiatives was immediate and profound. The buddy benches helped children at Christian and Victoria's schools, and the concept quickly caught on and spread to other schools across the country and around the world. The friendship bench has become a symbol of friendship and kindness in playgrounds everywhere.

Buddy Bench Project

The Goals of the Friendship Bench

A friendship bench is all about promoting inclusion and friendship. Playgrounds can be fun but can also be pretty daunting, especially if you're unsure who to play with. Buddy benches give kids a place to go when feeling left out and let others know they're open to making new friends.

But there's more to it than just making new buddies. These benches also help combat loneliness and boost social skills among kids. Reaching out can be scary at any age. But buddy benches teach kids a valuable lesson: asking for company is OK. They provide a safe and non-intimidating way for children to express their need for interaction, which is a crucial life skill.

Buddy benches play a significant role in anti-bullying initiatives. Bullying often stems from exclusion and a lack of empathy. By encouraging kids to reach out to those sitting on the bench, buddy benches foster a culture of kindness and understanding. They help children recognize when someone else feels down or left out and encourage them to act in a supportive and friendly manner.

How to Start a Friendship Bench at Your School

Once your school has approved a friendship bench, there are a few essential considerations. Bench placement is crucial. You need a location that's visible and accessible to all kids — where a child sitting on it can be quickly seen by others. The idea is to make it easy for kids to approach each other without anyone feeling awkward.

Installing a friendship bench is great, but it's not a magic solution. Schools need to implement a program that fosters the bench's success. They often do this by kicking things off with an assembly or classroom sessions to explain the buddy bench's purpose. Kids must understand that this bench isn't just another place to sit. It's a spot for someone looking for a friend or needing a break from a rough day.

Guidelines for students will help ensure a friendship bench succeeds. Kids need to understand buddy bench etiquette: If you see someone sitting there, that's your cue to walk over and invite them to play or talk. If you're the one sitting, it means you're open to someone coming over to you. But there's no pressure. If a child doesn't feel ready to join in immediately, that's OK, too. This is about choices and feeling comfortable.

Schools also need to lead by example. Staff members can watch the bench without making it feel like a big deal. Subtle supervision ensures the bench is used correctly and children interact kindly and safely.

The real success of buddy benches is in how the school community embraces them. Regular reminders, stories of positive experiences and even buddy bench buddies — older students who model good bench behavior — can keep the spirit alive.

Why Choose a Friendship Bench From Bright Idea Shops?

Bright Idea Shops is an excellent source for a buddy bench. We offer friendship benches in a wide array of colors, and all our products are made from recycled high density polyethylene. Our benches are:

  • Durable
  • Eco-conscious
  • Easy to maintain

When you order a friendship bench from Bright Idea Shops, you get a bench that looks great and lasts a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions About Buddy Benches

You have questions about buddy benches, and we have answers. Bright Idea Shops is a leading outdoor furniture supplier with a wealth of knowledge to share. Read the following for the information you need.

How Do You Introduce a Buddy Bench to Students?

Once you find a good location for your buddy bench, host a kick-off assembly or hold classroom sessions to teach students how to use the bench. Sending a newsletter home to parents helps underscore the importance of a friendship bench, and regular supervision by staff ensures its correct use.

Can I Customize My Friendship Bench?

We offer endless customization options at Bright Idea Shops. We can create your friendship bench in a wide range of colors, including your school colors or any combination you'd like.

What Impact Do Buddy Benches Have on School Climate and Culture?

Buddy benches help foster a culture of empathy and reduce bullying. A friendship bench also teaches students how to manage their feelings.

What Other Ways Can Schools Use Benches?

Time-outs are another great way schools can use benches. A time-out bench enhances discipline and fosters positive behavior.

Order a Friendship Bench From Bright Idea Shops

Bright Idea Shops has you covered with our vibrant and durable buddy benches. Don't wait to create a warmer, more welcoming space for every child at your playground. We make ordering a buddy bench easy. You'll love our outstanding customer service and responsive turnaround times. Browse our friendship bench collection today and experience the Bright Idea Shops difference.

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