Our Prep Buddies – through year five eyes

Thank you to Ellie, Izzy and Mila for this week’s wonderfully comprehensive look at the Buddies Program.

Every Tuesday, the year fives meet with their Prep buddies and they spend time together. It’s a great opportunity for us to learn some leadership skills and it helps our buddies’ social skills, their fine motor skills as well as their manners.

Lately, we have been doing a lot of Kids Cave together. In Kids Cave, we let our imaginations run wild and build amazing things out of blocks and fabric. It’s a fun activity. We build creations out of the materials that we are given, then we pack them up at the end of the session. We build fun obstacle courses and other things, but we make sure that we do not do it all ourselves and that we do what the buddies want to do because buddies isn’t about us after all! We have also learnt to make origami chatter-boxes with our buddies and a lot more!

We help our buddies feel safe and comfortable at school by having someone to talk to, which helps make them feel a lot happier and more ‘at home’. It is a good experience for their first few months of school, so in future they can grow to like school and learning. We all try to help our buddies feel as safe as possible because that is what we are here for.

Last term, we wrote Little Miss and Mr Men books for our buddies, we drew pictures and made sure to include some humour. Then we helped our buddies read and understand the story. We believe that our buddies are quite smart in their own ways!

Every time we see our buddies, we make sure everything we do is for them, about them and what they want to do, not what we want to do. Our buddies teach us patience and teaching skills. Over the past semester, we feel that most of us have developed a good connection with our buddies, it is exciting to see them running at us, yelling “ready for a hug!” It is good for the younger buddies because when you are young, having a great role model to look up to can help shape the way the buddies act. It is important for us to set a good example so that when the buddies are older, they know their manners and how to be respectful. If our buddies are having a hard time then we try and help them have a better time. ‘Year Five Buddies’ scream happiness and joy! Some lunchtimes, our buddies like to play with us. However, not every lunchtime is a good time for them to play with us because it’s good for them to have friends of their own.

On the prep’s ‘Fifty Days Of School Celebration’, we celebrated how long the buddies had been at school by doing things like star jumps, going down the slide and swinging on the monkey bars, fifty times! Our prep buddies are always so thrilled to see us, it makes us feel happy to see a smile on their faces. Some of us have one buddy, some of us have two or even more! At the very start of the year, we taught them how to play some card games like Snap. We played a really fun Bingo maths board game called Dice Bingo. Dice Bingo is played by rolling two dice, then add or subtract the two numbers. If the answer is on the bingo board, a counter is placed on the number. If we get four in a row… BINGO!

Even though we are not teachers, we take the lead and act like adults. Being able to do this is an experience that has really helped us mature. “I feel a sense of pride knowing someone looks up to me”, remarked Izzy from 5CS. “It’s taught me how to be a mother”, said Chloe.

We have really enjoyed having Prep buddies and we think they have enjoyed us being their grade five buddies so far. We are excited and ready for later in the year when we will be able to spend more time with them! “They are so energetic and fun”, said Xena. “They always run around and get me to chase them”, said Ellie.

It is good to have buddies since we can teach them rules they may not know, or we can enforce rules they may already know. It is good for us to understand younger kids emotions and why they feel them. “It is fun to play with them, they may be young, but they are fast!” said Ellie.

This term, we have been focusing on letting the buddies have a go. We let them have the ideas and do the activities, we just help them if they are sad and play with them if they want us to. “A challenge I have experienced is having three buddies. It is hard since they all want to do different things,” said Mila. “It is hard for me when they don’t pay attention,” said Izzy. “Its difficult when they don’t listen to me, but when I ask them to, they do,” Ellie said.

Our Prep buddies have made it easy to meet and get to know them, and so far, this year has been great!

Thanks to Diana, Stephanie, Prue, Ash, Courtney, Patricia and Jacki for organising our buddy sessions and helping us grow to become great friends and role models with our buddies!

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