Whitford Catholic PS buddy bench creating more inclusive environment


Trystan, Jessie, Noah, Kayah, Chloe and Alexis at the Buddy Bench at Whitford Catholic Primary School. Picture: Matt Jelonek d474976
Trystan, Jessie, Noah, Kayah, Chloe and Alexis at the Buddy Bench at Whitford Catholic Primary School. Picture: Matt Jelonek d474976

WHITFORD Catholic Primary School is helping students combat loneliness in the playground.

To help create a more inclusive environment, the Craigie school installed a buddy bench last month.

“Bullying and antisocial behaviour can be an issue in all schools,” principal Tamara McGougan said.

“As a child, finding someone to play with isn’t always easy.

“Children are often unsure of how to go about instigating friendships, too shy to approach new children or to move between circles of friends and often they rely on teachers to help solve these problems.”

Ms McGougan said the buddy bench would “provide a starting point for those unsure of how to find the support of friends and peers easily”.

“If a child is feeling left out, cannot find their friends or wants to make new friends, they can sit on the bench,” she said.

“Other students will then invite them to play in a new game or sit and talk.”

The buddy bench aims to help with relationship building and problem solving skills and to reinforce positive social behaviours.

“It will be a valuable teaching tool that complements the school’s social and emotional learning in the classroom,” Ms McGougan said.

The bench was an initiative of the school’s student leaders and donated by Bunnings whose staff helped to paint and install it.

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