A new Buddy Bench was unveiled at Oak Knoll School yesterday, a collaborative program that involved counselor Nicole Scott’s Calling All Kids program and the generosity of ACE Hardware in downtown Menlo Park, owned by Mr. Oros.
“The Buddy Bench program is a way for kids to be inclusive of one another while on the play yard at recess,” explained Oak Knoll parent Gina Preston, who was instrumental in organizing the Bench project. “When a child feels alone or just needs a new game to participate in, they can sit on the Buddy Bench and, with any luck, another student will notice and come to their aid to be a buddy.
“The Calling All Kids group has compiled talking points so that they can discuss things with a student on the bench — what’s their favorite color or sport or what games do they like to play, etc — and off they go!
“We were lucky enough to have ACE Hardware step in and build us some very special benches for this program. What a terrific community partner! This is a very special program and we are proud of our children at Oak Knoll and their community at large.”
Calling All Kids is Oak Knoll’s version of a student council. “The group meets twice a month to work on making Oak Knoll a great place for kids to attend,” said Nicole. “Friday morning the group will be going into classrooms to teach kids about the Buddy Bench and its purpose.
“We want all Otters to feel included in our school. Many times kids just need a friend to play with, and the Bench will just be a way to connect so that no ‘buddy’ gets left behind!”