Our Programmes

Danesfort NS Kilkenny

Buddy Bench Aware is a school-based child-led positive mental health program that promotes emotional resilience and mental wellbeing, through supporting the core competencies of empathy, creativity, self-awareness and communication. All children deserve good mental health. We have adapted our school programmes for children with Special Educational Needs.

Our 4 age appropriate programmes are:

Little Buddies (Age 3-6)
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Buddy Bench Aware (Age 7-9)
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You are a Hero (Age 10-12)
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Transition Buddy (6th Class Only)
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The strands of the programmes are:

For Schools

1. A Buddy Bench is placed in your school yard or playground.

2. The Buddy Bench Aware programmes are delivered to the children in their class by our qualified facilitators. Each child receives a copy of the Buddy Bench workbook,  which entwines with the S.P.H.E. curriculum and to take home in turn to open a discussion with their parents. 

For Buddy Bench Ireland

3. An evaluation system is in place.

4. All data collected is entered into a CRM  to streamline school re-visits ( approx. every 3 years), to aid programme monitoring and generate outcomes.

Teacher’s Resource Information

The Buddy Bench acts as a space where children work out together how to support and accept themselves and each other, in all their uniqueness, diversity and challenges.

The Buddy Bench Workshop plants the seeds of communication, self-awareness and coping skills that enable the children to continue to grow together in mental and emotional wellness.

The Buddy Bench Activity Book  is a private vehicle for reflection, creative thinking, self-expression, and continuous learning about and exploring the language and textures of feelings.

The Teacher’s Resource Book gives an insight into the thinking that informs the Program and the elements that work together to make this an effective early intervention.

These 4 strands of the Buddy Bench Aware Program have been developed to support children to develop The 7 Core Competencies, and cultivate The 15 Protective Factors.

7 Core Competencies

The Mental Health Foundation (2002) suggests 7 Core Competencies possessed by children who are mentally healthy.

1. Develop psychologically, emotionally, socially, intellectually, spiritually
2. Initiate, develop and sustain mutually satisfying interpersonal relationships
3. Use and enjoy solitude
4. Become aware of others and empathise with them
5. Play and learn
6. Develop a sense of right and wrong
7. Resolve (face) problems & setbacks satisfactorily and learn from them (Alexander, 2002)

The Buddy Bench Aware Programmes enhances all seven of the Core Competencies

15 Protective Factors

Protective factors build and enhance resilience in children (Cooper, Jacobs, 2011). The Department of Health and the HSE have identified 15 Protective Factors that protect positive mental health, enhance the capacity to cope and reduce the likelihood that a mental health problem or disorder will develop (DES, HSE, DOH, 2013).

1. Positive relationships with peers and teachers
2. Positive mental health of school personnel
3. Participation in school and community activities
4. Opportunities for skills development and achievement
5. Recognition of contribution, effort and achievement
6. Sense of security
7. A positive school climate
8. A sense of belonging and connectedness to schools
9. Effective school policies related to mental health
10. Protocols & support systems that proactively support children and their families should difficulties arise
11. Positive classroom management strategies
12. Sharing acquired knowledge and positive behaviour management practices with parents
13. Fostering expectations of high achievement and providing opportunities for success
14. Opportunities for social and emotional learning and the development of problem solving skills
15. Support and professional development for teachers.
The Buddy Bench Aware Programmes specifically targets Protective Factors 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,14

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