At Ross Lower School, the Buddy Program offers campuswide benefit to its young students. This unique social program pairs students from different grade levels, helping to strengthen the student community and engender leadership skills.
Being a buddy offers older students the opportunity to practice serving as a role model to others, while the younger students enjoy the stimulation and chance to practice new skills with older friends. It also grants younger students insight into the experiences of their coming years as Lower School students.
The buddy pairs are established at the beginning of the school year, and once created, the older students primarily lead the program by planning activities in which to participate with their younger counterparts. In addition to regularly scheduled activities—such as weekly reading sessions between sixth grade students and their pre-kindergarten buddies—the teams also have the opportunity to collaborate on projects. For example, pre-nursery students are currently working with their third grade buddies on a service project to design Valentine’s Day cards for pediatric cancer patients. Last month, the teams worked together to make ceramic bowls that were sold as part of a campus community service project.
The Buddy Program has been successful in increasing camaraderie on campus. In fact, during last fall’s sixth grade student government campaign, many of the candidates expressed aspirations of building more buddy interactions into the school day.