Better buddies band together

Glenorchy Primary School students recently took time out of their academic schedule to recognise the importance of friendship for National Buddy Day.

National Buddy Day is an annual event held on 12 June that was developed by The Alannah and Madeline Foundation to promote awareness of the Foundation’s ‘Better Buddies Framework’ which seeks to reduce bullying in schools.

As part of the framework, students entering their first year of primary school are paired with an older buddy, ensuring they feel safe, valued and connected to the school community.

“Better Buddies has had a positive impact on our students,” Glenorchy Primary School principal Wendy Potter said.

“National Buddy Day is a great opportunity to reinforce the message of friendship, as well as raise funds that could help roll this program out to other schools.”

Glenorchy Primary recently took part in the National Buddy Day celebrations by having staff and students wear purple in exchange for a gold coin donation, raising a total of $146.

Glenorchy Primary School teacher Carol Arnold said this was the first year the school had participated in the event.

“The students used a ‘Buddies are Beaut’ photo booth to have photos taken with their special buddy and the older students also worked with younger classes on a range of activities, such as reading together and creating artwork,” she said.

“We were so pleased by how well the children participated that we will make it an annual event.”

As part of its Better Buddies program, Glenorchy Primary also built purple “friendship seats” which are located in different locations around the school grounds.

“The friendship seats have been around our school for 18 months and are used every recess and lunch,” Ms Arnold said.

“Our senior students painted them and selected the areas in the playground where they would be located.

“They are a great place to sit and chat with friends and we are very grateful that a number of community organisations contributed materials so that we could build them.”

The Alannah and Madeline Foundation chief executive officer Dr Judith Slocombe said thanks to the support of principal partner NAB, the foundation was well on the way toward implementing the Better Buddies Framework across Australia.

“Bullying is a major societal issue in Australia and 27 per cent of young people report they are bullied every two weeks or more,” she said.

“Relationship building is key to reducing bullying and this program enables students to forge new friendships that might otherwise not have been developed, therefore creating a more supportive and inclusive environment.”

For more information about the Better Buddies framework, visit www.betterbuddies.org.au

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