Fostering Friendships at FES

Fostering Friendships at FES

By Kenya Hoffart
Fairview Elementary’s all-inclusive playground offers many wonderful things for safe and creative play for all students. But being an all-inclusive playground means much more than equipment being accessible. It also means that all students feel safe and have fun. A recent addition to the playground helps meet social needs of students who may struggle to find a playmate, and it makes recess time even better.

Buddy benches help eliminate loneliness and foster friendships on the playground. Any student who feels a little left out, or just wants someone new to play with, can take a seat on a buddy bench and expect someone to join them soon. Students understand that if they see someone on a buddy bench then it’s a great time to join them and make a new friend. Students are also taught to be encouraging and kind, and that all kids deserve to have fun.

The FES Dad’s Club collected the materials for each bench and spent an afternoon with their kids building benches. Chad Caldwell, Fairview’s art teacher, took several classes outside over the last few weeks to paint and personalize each bench. Building and decorating these benches has been a great experience for everyone involved, and they have been a great addition to the school’s playground. Buddy Benches 1 Buddy Benches 2