Last year, a group of 5th graders at Meeker Elementary worked with the middle school builders club on a project to make their building better. They saw the need for a Buddy Bench on the playground “as a place for kids to go to indicate that they would like someone to play with at recess,” according to Meeker Elementary School Counselor Kari Deal.

On Friday, August 25, the new Buddy Bench was unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Meeker PTO. If you’re not familiar with the concept of a Buddy Bench, it is a place for a child to sit if they’re feeling lonely while indicating interest in joining an individual or group during recess. The bench also provides a visual cue for children playing that another child desires to be included.

The Buddy Bench is a great addition to the playground, but also a wonderful way to continue the Meeker C.A.R.E.S. initiative, which is an acronym for Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Control. Melissa Stone, a School Counselor at Meeker, said “we’re definitely trying to instill compassion, but also assertion. It’s hard to go sit down and let people know that I want someone to play with.” Kari Deal said “It’s really cool to hear them use the term as they are talking to other kids and adults, and they realize when they are making a positive choice, which ties in really well with the Buddy Bench.”