The Reception and Year 6 students from Southern Montessori School at O’Sullivan Beach are part of The Alannah and Madeline Foundation’s Better Buddies, an initiative designed to create friendly and caring primary school communities to ensure bullying is reduced.
In 2015, 26 new schools have joined Better Buddies, with almost 120 South Australian schools now implementing the framework, thanks to the support of Principal Partner, NAB.
“This represents about 35,000 South Australian children who are learning how to take care of each other at school,” NAB Retail State General Manager, Mr Gregg Harris said.
In a recent evaluation of Better Buddies, 100% of participating school principals reported it had helped reduce the number of bullying incidents across their school and helped to create a friendly and caring school community.
So far this year, buddies at Southern Montessori School have participated in ‘getting to know you’ activities by writing stories, drawing pictures and playing educational games together.
“Better Buddies has helped us to build stronger relationships across the school community,” Southern Montessori School Principal, Steven Wallis said. “Our reception students enjoy participating in a variety of activities with their older buddies and benefit from having a friendly face and support in the playground when needed. For our Year 6 students it’s an opportunity to learn about self-discipline, taking responsibility for the wellbeing of others and using their initiative to identify and organise activities that their younger buddies will enjoy.”
CEO of The Alannah and Madeline Foundation, Dr Judith Slocombe, believes every child had a right to be safe from victimisation, violence and abuse at school. “Bullying is one of the most common forms of violence in the lives of children and affects approximately one in every four Australian school students” she said.
“Better Buddies is designed to enhance existing buddy programs or introduce a buddy program to primary schools for the first time. It pairs students entering their first year of primary school with an older buddy to help them feel safe, valued and connected to their new school community. When students have the skills and understanding to engage in positive, respectful and inclusive relationships, then negative and violent behaviour – such as bullying – can be reduced.”
NAB has partnered with The Alannah and Madeline Foundation for over 10 years to prevent bullying in primary schools around the country. Over this time, NAB has dedicated more than $4 million to the development of initiatives aimed at creating safe and respectful environments where bullying is reduced. This has helped grow the national Better Buddies framework from 30 primary schools in 2007 to 1700 in 2015, reaching over 510,000 children across Australia.
About The Alannah and Madeline Foundation
The Alannah and Madeline Foundation is a national charity protecting children from violence and its devastating effects. Its vision is for every child to live in a safe and supportive environment. The Foundation was set up in memory of Alannah and Madeline Mikac, aged six and three, who were tragically killed along with their mother and 32 others at Port Arthur,
Tasmania on 28 April 1996.
Visit amf.org.au for more information