“One of the things I love about Powhatan is the Buddy Program,” says Mrs. Miller, the Educational Technology Teacher and the lead faculty member for the Hour of Code Event. It is a program that matches older students with younger students throughout the year.
“So when I began planning the Hour of Code Event for this year, I made a note to include a buddy opportunity within the scope of the program,” continued Mrs. Miller. “I teach a technology class for all sixth graders, so I figured that was the perfect opportunity to make it happen. During the week prior, I was able to prep the sixth graders on how the Ozobots operate and the art project the Lower School students were going to be working on. We took some class time to go over everything before we introduced it to the Pre-Kindergarteners and Kindergarteners. Once the Hour of Code project came along, we put it into motion and the kids were great.”
The Hour of Code Event turned out to be a great leadership opportunity for the older students. Mrs. Miller outlined the project and what needs to be accomplished, and then it was their turn to communicate that to the younger children.
They needed to have patience – it was not always going to work the first time and they needed to try again.
They needed to show empathy – if the younger student got frustrated, they needed to help.
“For the little ones, it was fun to see them grow in confidence as the big buddy helped out. You can see it when their faces light up that they were successful. That has probably been one of my favorite takeaways from the week.”
~Mrs. Miller, Educational Technology Teacher
Learn More: The Buddy Program
The purpose of the buddy program is to build mentorship and friendship between different aged students. Through buddies, community and camaraderie develops. Students cheer for their buddies when they endeavor to try something new, they encourage one another when they perform in plays, and they support each other in various activities across campus.
For older students it is a great opportunity for leadership. For project-based activities, the older buddies will often provide direction and purpose.
For younger students, Buddy activities provide acceptance and build confidence. “Put yourself in the shoes of a kindergartener,” continues Mrs. Miller. “When you have a big buddy who knows you – you feel accepted. You belong. That’s a powerful message for our youngest learners.”
“In our eyes, it is an integral part of building a strong sense of community and character,” says Mrs. Miller. “The buddy program is one more example of how we live our mission: We learn not for school, but for life. Building relationships with new children each year contributes to the social and emotional well-being of each member of our Powhatan community, and we feel strongly that this is an essential part of all children’s education.”