Better Buddies Friendship Seat Project

Following the first installation of Friendship Seats in Better Buddies schools, we asked teachers and principals to provide some thoughts on the seats and how they had been received by the school community...

Dandenong West Primary School
2 - Friendship Seat familyOn Thursday 14 March Dandenong West Primary School students and their families together with community service providers and our friends at local schools were all invited to celebrate the beginning of our KidsMatter journey. KidsMatter is a national whole-school approach to improving children's mental health and wellbeing.

"An important aspect of our KidsMatter launch was the Better Buddies Friendship seat which was recently installed on our school playground," Dandenong West Primary School Student Wellbeing Officer, Feliz Omer said.

During the launch the school showcased their new Friendship Seat as a photo booth for students and their families.

"We had lots of fun taking the photos and it was another positive way to touch base with the families."

"We understand that student welfare is the responsibility of all staff working from a holistic approach therefore we are working together with relevant health services and our local community in order to assist the children in our school." Dandenong West Primary School Student Wellbeing Officer, Feliz Omer said.

"Our Friendship Seat is another safe way for students to express that they have no-one to play with. It has become an important part of play time at our school." added Principal Beverley Hansen.

Staff have discussed the friendship seat with students in the context of the school vision, values and their Kidsmatter focus.

Classroom teachers have discussed the purpose of the Friendship Seat with the students to develop a shared understanding that it is a place students can sit when they don't have anyone to play with.

1 - Friendship Seat buddies"The Friendship seat has played a significant role in our students' sense of belonging and connectedness to the school and their peers." said Beverley.

"All of our students, but particularly our senior students understand that they have an important buddy and leadership role to ensure that their peers are not isolated during play times."

At Dandenong West, the students have welcomed the friendship seat as an important part of play time while also recognising the responsibility that comes with it as comments from students demonstrate.

"As a grade six student, if children go on the friendship seat, I will see who is lonely and I can invite them to play with me," one student said.
"It's important because it means that we will all have to work together to make sure that everyone has a friend," another added.

We would like to thank to Feliz Omer and Beverley Hansen and the Dandenong West Primary School community for sharing their story.

 

Aspendale Gardens Primary School
Aspendale Gardens Primary School decided to show us rather than tell us how their school community feels about the Friendship Seat.

Click here to view the video on vimeo.com if it is not visible above.

With thanks to Glenys Balic for creating the video.

 

Rosewood Downs Primary School
3 - Friendship Seat RosewoodRosewood Downs Primary School have positioned their Friendship Seat under a tree in full view of the large adventure playground and basketball courts. The position of the seat was chosen so if a child is sitting there for any length of time, they are still able to watch other children playing and may feel they can join in.

“The Friendship Seat is an important addition to our playground,” said Bernie Lanyon, Prep Manager at Rosewood Downs Primary School.

“We have introduced the concept to our students with younger grades using role play incorporating the actual seat to familiarize them with its purpose and use.”

Grade five students who are a part of the Better Buddies program were asked what they think about the Friendship Seat.

“I think the friendship seat is good for solving problems. Children who are sad and alone can sit there and wait for someone to invite them to play with them.” Mya
“If you sit on the friendship seat you are most likely to find a friend and you will not be alone with nothing to do at snack and lunch. I think if a student is lonely they will find someone to play with.” Melissa
“The Rosewood Downs friendship seat gives students a good opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. I think the friendship seat builds confidence to talk to different people.” Vanessa

We'd like to thank Bernie Lanyon, Prep Manager, and Rosewood Downs Primary School students for sharing their experiences.

Better Buddies
Better Buddies