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The Buddy Bench

It's an idea that originated in Germany, was brought to the United States by a student in Pennsylvania, and now it's in Signal Mountain at Nolan Elementary School. The "Buddy Bench" is a simple concept with goals to create friendships on the playground.r
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Many kids claim recess to be one of the best parts of elementary school, next to lunch. For some kids however, this is not the case.r
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aI am a new student to Nolan so I know how it feels to be lonely at recess and trust me it is boring,a said Jake Hanners, a now fourth grader at Nolan Elementary School.r
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Rewind about seven months.r
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Becky Learyas third grade class at Nolan Elementary School had an assignment to write persuasive essays. The essays needed to focus on something that would help the school be a better place.r
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aLast year we had like six new kids in our class from all over one came from Indiana, so they didn't know anyone in Tennessee,a said Georgia Sharp, fourth grader at Nolan Elementary School.r
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That's when Leary stumbled upon the "Buddy Bench" online. The aBuddy Bencha is an idea originating in Germany and then brought to Pennsylvania by a second grade student named Christian Bucks.r
The concept is simple. The goal of the bench is to help new or shy kids with the sometimes daunting task of making new friends. r
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aAt recess if a child has no friends to play with they would sit on the buddy bench and someone would hopefully ask them to play or if two people were on the buddy bench the two people could play together,a said Hanners. r
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aIt was a no brainer, everyone said we want this and the letters I think shared that intrinsic motivation, their compassion,a said Becky Leary third grade teacher at Nolan Elementary.r
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aIt makes me feel sad and stuff because they don't get to play with friends and everyone else does,a said Nathan Wofford, now a fourth grader at Nolan Elementary School.r
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aIf kids don't have any friends they can go to the buddy bench and get happy,a said Summer Triplett, fourth grader at Nolan Elementary School.r
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Teachers also hope it will teach kids how to solve problems on their own. If friends are fighting, teachers will send them to the aBuddy Bencha to try and work it out together.r
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aWe are helping guide them into better ways in handling conflicts on the playground, and just initiating care and compassion for someone else and to have some empathy,a said Leary.r
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Leary brought the letters to the PTA and together with school administrators the aBuddy Bencha became a reality. There were already two benches on both playgrounds - so one bench on each became designated the aBuddy Bench.a They painted it bright green and put a banner - displaying friendship with a knight and dragon, representing Nolan Elementary School.r
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By: Lauren St. Germain
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Duplicate entry '91940564' for key 'PRIMARY'