Buddy Bench Croatia (Frendovska klupa)
Frendovska klupa (Buddy Bench Hrvatska) is an international and humanitarian project invented for a purpose of preventing and oppressing peer bullying, encouraging inclusion, making new friendships between children of kindergarten and elementary school.
Inclusion, decreasing number of bullying situations among children, cooperation, peer learning, tolerance, empathy
Peer learning, coopeartive learning
Process starts with question's for the audience (children, teachers, parents) if they have ever experienced that they're shy or not talkative or late to school when everyone's already hanging out in their "clicks" etc. The answer is mostly positive so the storytelling continues in a way that the demonstrator of the project tells the other's that the Buddy Bench is a perfect solution for the ones who might have experienced all of the above. Also, the demonstrator continues with telling the others how the Buddy Bench even works, and that's – whenever you are in a situation like these above, you just sit on the Buddy Bench. If someone sees you sitting all alone, they have to pick you up in their play or any other activity, because with the Buddy Bench, you're never alone!
The thing that we have to emphasize is that we (teachers, parents) are the ones who need to tell children to never exclude someone from their activities and the main purpose of Buddy Bench. Afterwards comes the demonstration when the demonstrator says: With Buddy Bench, I can have friends the moment I snap with my fingers (as in really quick), and the biggest probability is that children will actually come, if they understood the purpose of Buddy Bench.
After the demonstration and explanation about the project, children personalize and decorate the bench themselves by colouring with acrylic colours. The point of them colouring the bench alone is to identify themselves with the bench as a unique individuals and that the bench is their "property", something that they have made by themselves. In the end everyone gets prospects about the project and a colouring side for them to colour.
Wooden bench, acrylic paint and adequate brushes
Including all of the children into other children's play or activities, more talkative children, but also willing to hear others, accepting other people's opinions, tolerance among children
Researches show that after setting Buddy Benches on children's playgrounds children became more empathic to each other, as well as more open and started communicating more. Percentage of peer bullying has been decreased, but awareness of importance of inclusion became stronger – children started including more children with disabilities and special needs.
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