- Little Buddies age pre-school 3-6
- Buddy Bench Aware age 7-9
- Buddy Bench Hero age 9-12
- Buddy Bench Post Primary 12+
All children deserve good mental health. That's why we have adapted our school programmes for children with Special Educational Needs.
We use a Buddy Bench as a visual tool to help instil much needed lifelong coping skills which is the objective of our Buddy Bench Aware programme. Our thoroughly researched program has been designed by our team and in-house psychotherapist Judith Ashton BA ITEC MFPhys IMTA, who has over 30 years expertise in her field. For the younger children the story in our interactive workbook, written by our Creative Consultant Jeffrey Gormly and illustrated by the very talented Ross Stewart of Cartoon Saloon. It is a story with animals and each animal represents a thought or a feeling but is creative and innovative , being open ended leaving so much to the individual child's imagination. Through our research if a buddy bench is placed in playground without a program it very quickly becomes an attractive climbing frame.
We, as a team of psychotherapists physically visit the school or organisation, our programmes are designed to allow and encourage a child to "feel a feeling" or to "think a thought" we know it is vital that a trained person is present and can identify a situation or problem if it arises, they will then flag a teacher/worker so they can decide if further intervention via the school or the organisation is required.
We are connected with the Irish Men's Sheds on a national level, you can source a bench through them for a cost of approximately €150 which includes a donation to each of the sheds. www.menssheds.ie
Book our team to come to your school and deliver our Buddy Bench Aware programmes which entwines heavily with SPHE. Each sessions is 45 mins in duration which consists of reading our story, role play and/or games which is delivered by our trained staff. Each pupil receives his/her own copy of the interactive workbook to be completed at school or even with the help of their family at home.
"A state of well-being in which the individual realises his or own abilities, can cope with the
normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to
his or her own community". (WHO, 2001, p.1)
Some of the photos of us Buddy Benchers delivering the "Buddy Bench Aware" programme. These bright as buttons children really got the messages behind the story and really embrace it.
The ethos behind our program is :
LOOK UP, LOOK AROUND, LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER
“We have begun to see positive changes in behaviour, better use of problem solving conversations, reduced discipline incidents, and improved feelings of safety from bullying among our children,” said Lydia Coyne.
After implementing the programme, children knew techniques to solve problems with classmates and ways to “cool off” and manage anger-related emotions." said Michelle Coleman