New ‘buddy benches’ at Tecler promote friendship, inclusion

Making friends can be hard, but school leaders are hoping two new “Buddy Benches” at Tecler Elementary School can help eliminate loneliness and foster friendships on the playground.

A gift from Tecler’s 2015-16 graduating class, made possible through the support of Home Depot, the benches are quick and easy ways for students to see who is in need of a friend. Here’s how it works – students sit on the bench when they are alone at recess and get invited to play by other classmates who see them awaiting a playmate.

According to BuddyBench.org, the idea for the benches was brought to the United States in 2013 by Christian Bucks, a then second-grader in York, Pennsylvania, who saw them being used in Germany. Ever since Bucks introduced the Buddy Benches to his school community, their popularity has grown exponentially.

Tecler students recently personalized their Buddy Benches, covering the bright orange benches with their multi-colored handprints.

The benches are currently housed in the school’s main hallway. School leaders plan on moving them to the playground in the spring.