Buddy Bench Aware are school based positive mental health programme that empowers children to foster friendships and illuminate loneliness in the playground. We as educators have the ability to grow mindsets of caring and compassion in our children.
We teach children to recognise and respond to their own feelings – different emotions feel different on the inside, physically. If you can identify your feelings and are aware of them you can make choices of how to appropriately respond to them.
Children can feel how positive qualities such as kindness and compassion feel in their bodies. We explore what exclusion FEELS like in our bodies – lonely, scared, unworthy, sad. And then we talk about how inclusion makes us feel accepted, warm, safe, valued. We teach kids to notice how others are feeling on the inside by the clues they give on the outside.
To become more resilient we need supportive relationships and emotional awareness, understanding and how to express feelings in constructive ways. We can learn to practice kindness and empathy to others. Kids can learn social and emotional skills that will build resilience and well being in their lives into adulthood.
We place the social responsibility upon children to monitor the yard or the bench for anyone who may be feeling excluded and empower them to respond. They have the power inside themselves to grow friendships with kindness.
Friendships help give meaning to our lives, they make us feel like we belong, and provide support during tough times. They’re pretty central to happiness and well- being. We need kindness to grow.