Buddy Bench

Big Hearts Behind Buddy Bench at Stanford Montessori
Posted on 08/25/2022
teacher and students on the school Buddy Bench

No one should feel lonely or left out if they head to the Buddy Bench. teacher and three students on the school buddy bench

That’s the idea behind the new bench on the playground at Stanford Montessori Elementary School in Donelson. Students in the school’s Beta Club raised $2,111 last year, including $1,400 to buy the bench, which has two simple rules:

  1. If you choose to sit on the bench, you must say yes to the first friend who invites you to play, or walk and talk.
  2. If you see a friend sitting on the bench, you invite them to play, or walk and talk.
“We thought it would be great if whenever someone feels left out or needs a friend, they can sit on the Buddy Bench, and someone will invite them to play,” Stanford fifth-grader Olivia Sharpe said Wednesday before an event to unveil the bench to nearly 100 students, staff, parents, community members and elected officials. “We thought it would be a good idea, because everyone on the playground would have somebody to play with.”

The students expect the Buddy Bench to have an impact beyond Stanford, because the playground and surrounding fields are part of a larger community park that’s open – and often busy – after school hours. 

“Everybody uses the playground,” said fifth-grader Anhad Jain, who spoke at the event along with Sharpe and Tegan Plummer, another fifth-grader who is also a Beta Club national leadership ambassador.

school Buddy Bench

2021-22 was the first year Stanford Montessori had a Beta Club, which emphasizes student achievement, leadership, character and service. Teacher Lisa Redditt brought the idea to the school soon after she started working there last year, and 18 students became members – and quickly made an impact with the Buddy Bench.

Recently elected Board of Education member Berthena Nabaa-McKinney, who has a child in fourth grade at Stanford Montessori, said she and outgoing Board member John Little were happy to see the students’ initiative.

“We’re really excited about the work our Beta Club students are doing and the thoughtful work around our Buddy Bench,” Nabaa-McKinney said, “and how we work really hard to make friends and build community within our schools.”

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