Cool Schools: Northside Elementary School

Cool Schools

Recess is now a time to work out issues. The first step is to simply sit down on the buddy bench.

The buddy bench is why Northside Elementary School is this week’s ‘Cool School.’

Here’s how this episode of playground drama began…

“I was jealous because her other friend was not letting me play with them,” second grader Abby Sumrall said in a calm voice. It’s a small conflict she had with her best friend Peyton McDonald. But in second grade, it can boil up.

That’s when it’s time to cool off on the buddy bench.

“We came and sat. And we talked it out. And we played together,” Sumrall said, sitting next to McDonald on the bench.

Teachers have seen the buddy bench become a great place for the students to recognize emotions, discuss them, and learn how to appropriately respond.  “Rather than just flying off the handles and reacting,” second grade teacher Meredith Jierski said.

The buddy bench is also a place for the shy to signal to the playground that they need a friend.

Jierski said the first couple days, teachers had to prompt students to check up on classmates who were sitting on the bench alone. “But now it’s like the kids are constantly checking to see.”

It’s only been about a month since Northside Elementary put the bench in business.

And it’s already worked it’s magic on classroom connection and conflict.

Jierski said McDonald and Sumrall worked out their issue in a matter of minutes.

“Because no one was there to bother us too much,” McDonald said.

Sometimes all it takes is a talk between the two people involved.


Remember, if you would like to nominate a school for our ‘Cool Schools’ segment, email with your ideas.

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