St Gerard's has introduced a buddy program to support students throughout the school.
This program helps students to engage in activities that provide confidence and social skills across the school. It helps the students develop relationships with students of different ages and provides support on the playground.
Buddy systems play an important role in helping to create safe school environments.
Buddy systems teach, and give children the opportunity to practise, the important values of respect, care, valuing difference, responsibility, friendship and including others. Through looking after and caring for smaller, vulnerable children who are just starting school, older children learn the skills associated with empathy and compassion through activities in the classroom and in the playground. This helps combat bullying and other forms of antisocial behaviour such as harassment and teasing. Teaching pro-social values and skills can also contribute to the development of resilience, a protective factor for children if they experience hardship or loss.
Our buddy program enables younger children to feel safe and cared for while older children feel valued and respected.
A buddy program can strengthen the school community and help to challenge stereotypes, misconceptions or fears that students hold about younger or older age groups. A buddy system can also help students to feel valued and supported, teach important social skills and create a caring ethos in the school. They can create connectedness that enables both older and younger buddies to bond more closely with their school, thereby increasing the likelihood of more positive social behaviour. It has been suggested that when students feel connected to their school, they also feel valued and safe and less likely to either bully or be bullied. Buddy systems help reduce negative behaviours such as bullying.