Better Buddies Framework 

 

Better Buddies Framework Overview

Creating friendly and caring school communities”

One of the most common forms of violence in the lives of children is bullying, with one in six children being bullied each week. (Nation-wide, not necessarily at Le Page!)  Bullying can have a devastating effect on a child. In addition, children who portray bullying behaviours are more likely to commit anti-social behaviour and criminal acts. The Alannah and Madeline Foundation’s key prevention program is the Better Buddies Framework, an initiative designed to create friendly and caring Primary School communities where bullying is reduced. In “Better Buddies”, children in their first and last year of Primary School buddy up and learn the values: Caring for others, Friendliness, Respect, Valuing Difference, Including Others and Responsibility through formal weekly activities and informal interaction outside of the classroom. Better Buddies enables younger children to feel safe and cared for while older children feel valued and respected.

“Buddy Bear” is the mascot of Better Buddies who embodies the values and promotes a feeling of care, safety, warmth and comfort. Better Buddies is designed to enhance existing buddy programs or introduce a buddy program to schools for the first time. The evidence-based framework complements existing school welfare programs, is easy to implement and links to national curriculum initiatives. Other benefits of Better Buddies are that it teaches social skills, incorporates a wide range of buddy activities, provides training for older buddies, has understudy buddies, and aims to reduce bullying. Better Buddies builds unique and special relationships to create friendly and caring school communities where bullying is reduced. Every child has a right to be safe from victimisation, violence and abuse at school. ‘It is a fundamental democratic right for a child to feel safe in school and to be spared the oppression and repeated, intentional humiliation implied in bullying.’ (Dan Olweus 2001) Bullying is when a student (or group) with more power repeatedly and intentionally uses words or actions against another student that cause distress and create a risk to their wellbeing. Bullying can be physical, verbal, emotional or social and can be carried out in person, through manipulation or electronically. (Helen McGrath, The National Safe Schools Framework Best Practice Grants Programme Final Report 2006). For a summary report please visit www.ncab.org.au

Buddy Bear was created by Michael Salmon: www.michaelsalmon.com.au in 2009. The Alannah and Madeline Foundation’s Better Buddies Team works with the NAB and other community groups. The organisation also receives funding from Trusts and Foundations to take Better Buddies to even more schools. Thank you to The Shane Warne Foundation, The Jack Brockhoff Foundation and The Pearce Armstrong Foundation. We are also pleased to have continued support from the ChillOut Festival, Hepburn Shire to develop a new unit of work called Buddies for Wildlife with Hepburn Wildlife Shelter and Wildlife Victoria. Our partnership with NAB, other Trusts and Foundations and community groups has allowed us to offer more sponsored positions to schools across Australia to implement Better Buddies.

We are looking forward to creating a safe and caring school community at Le Page through the Better Buddies core values: Caring for Others, Friendliness, Respect, Responsibility, Valuing Difference, and Including Others.

Le Page Primary has had a “Buddies” program linking our Preps and Year 6s. for a number of years. In 2009, we established links with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation – The “Better Buddies Framework”, which has Buddy Bear as its mascot.  The relationship continues.  Taking advantage of toys and activities from the A-M Foundation, Preps/Ones and Sixes engage in specific activities to further develop the six core values of the program. (These are remarkably similar to some aspects of our “You Can Do It” Program and our School Values.) It is our intention to “buddy-up” pre-schoolers with students from our current Year 5s. during orientation activities with pre-schoolers so that the transition from pre-school to school next year is that much smoother.

One of the recommended activities in the “Buddy Bear” Program is the Buddy Bear Bus Stop.  In this aspect of the program, the Buddies run special activities for Foundation and Year 1 students at lunchtime.  (These pictures are old ones as we’re yet to establish this for 2015.  We hope you get the idea!)

The Foundation and Year 1’s learn new skills, have fun and play games. The Year 6’s gain valuable leadership and orgnaisational skills.