The Little Buddies children’s mental health program is where children become enthralled in our interactive story brought to life by our furry woodland creatures.
Kin the thoughtful fox.
Alfe the very emotional and caring squirrel.
Red the robin who just loves his nest.
Neeke the monkey who is very different and so very very proud of the fact.
Each animal represents a thought, or a feeling. It is an open ended story allowing free will of the children’s imagination. Friends help children feel safe and we all need kindness to grow.
The Buddy Bench
If a child has no one to play with or would like someone to talk to they sit on the bench as an indicator to the other children that they need help. We teach children that it ok to ask for help, we all need help sometimes and in our workshop we celebrate children who act with kindness and compassion. We give all the children we meet the job of “looking up, looking around and looking out for each other”.
In the workshops the use of role play, puppets, story and song we teach the ABCs of Little Buddies:
Awareness: Being aware of our feelings and how they change; if a child is feeling sad, alone or afraid, it’s always good to share and talk about it
Body: Children explore what emotion feels like in the body: how to read, recognise and respond to their emotions, and recognise emotions in others.
Caring: We teach kids to think about how others are feeling and cultivate kindness. When children perform an act of kindness, or benefit from one, they naturally “feel great.”
Each child receives a copy of our beautifully illustrated interactive workbook featuring teaching story and fun, creative activities.You can read along and join in the questions too!
Combined with the Buddy Bench as a visual tool in times of distress, the children were able to find comfort and support through each other rather than feeling upset and worried. It’s these small changes, spread across classrooms, that could make society more kind—and educate a new generation of more compassionate and connected adults.
The feedback from our programmes is very promising – we are currently completing an evaluation with our researchers in the Centre of Mental Health, Maynooth University. According to teachers’ ratings, children show more empathy and kindness and a greater ability to calm themselves down when they feel upset. Their social and emotional development has improved, the children showed improvement in the ability to think flexibly, and had cultivated the life skills that have been linked to health and success in later life.