Buddy benches have become a popular trend in many schools in recent years. If you’ve heard about this trend, you might be wondering if it’s something your school actually needs. After all, buddy benches are designed to prevent bullying, and if your school doesn’t have a prominent bullying problem, do you really need one? Keep reading to learn more about this trend and whether or not every school really needs a buddy bench.
How Does It Work?
If you’re not familiar with the concept of the buddy bench, you might not understand how a bench can help prevent bullying. As you likely know, bullies tend to target loners. They’re far less likely to pick on someone who’s surrounded by a group of friends than someone who’s standing by themselves on the edge of the playground. A buddy bench gives these lonely students a place to sit to indicate that they don’t have anyone to play with.
But wouldn’t providing a designated place for loners make them more likely to be targeted? Actually, no. When students understand the purpose of the buddy bench, they’re much more likely to approach a student sitting there and ask them to play; a student standing on their own or sitting somewhere else alone might just not want to play right now, and other children are less likely to befriend them.
These dedicated spaces are also usually highly visible to both other students and teachers monitoring the playground. Due to this and the higher likelihood of children being invited to play with their peers, buddy benches can significantly decrease instances of bullying.
You Don’t Always See Bullying
If you think that your school doesn’t need a buddy bench because you don’t have a problem with bullies, think again. Bullying takes many forms, and you don’t always see it happening. While media often focuses on physical bullying among children, it can take more subtle forms as well, like intentionally excluding a certain student from play. The buddy bench is ideal for counteracting this form of bullying by helping the student find others who want to play with them and helping them to make new friends who will protect them from being picked on.
It’s Not Only about Bullies
While much of the buddy bench’s appeal is in its ability to protect students from being bullied, its benefits go much deeper than that. The buddy bench can be a vital tool for new students in your school who haven’t made friends yet, or for shy kids who have a hard time approaching their peers and asking to play. These benches are about far more than preventing exclusionary behavior among students; it’s about making sure every child in your school can find a friend and feel included in some way.
Introducing a Buddy Bench
So, in short, the answer to the initial question in this blog is yes—every school needs a buddy bench. Because every school has at least one student who will feel left out or alone sometimes. And if your buddy bench helps even one lonely student to find a friend, then it’s something your school needs.
When introducing your buddy bench at your school, make sure children understand its special purpose. This bench is not for playing or sitting on with your friends; you should only sit at the buddy bench if you’re looking for someone to play with. And, when you see someone sitting on the buddy bench, you should approach them and ask them to play.
If you’re looking for a buddy bench for your school, contact Outdoor School Furniture. We make specialized benches with plaques that clearly label your buddy bench, or we can provide you with an engraved bench that indicates that seat’s special purpose. Contact us to learn more!