LISTEN: School, service organisation say ‘no’ to bullying by launching this programme

Hannes du Plessis, principal of Belvedere School, addresses guests in the Buddy Garden.

“It’s cool to be kind.”

This is one of the messages which will be driven home at Belvedere School with the launch of the school’s Buddy Programme.

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The initiative was unveiled at the Farrarmere school on January 26.

Representatives from some Benoni schools, education department officials and members of the Benoni Lions Club, who are sponsoring the programme, were in attendance.

Tina Strachan, president of the Benoni Lions Club, said supporting the project was a “no-brainer”.

Tina Strachan, president of the Benoni Lions Club, unveils the Buddy Garden to guests.

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The Benoni Lions Club has thrown its support behind the project. The club’s president, Tina Strachan, and district govenor Ian King, share their thoughts on the programme. 

The Buddy Programme aims to foster a spirit of friendship, support and care amongst learners at Belvedere.

They hope to develop a ‘buddy culture’ amongst learners.

How it works

Learners will, as part of life orientation, be taught social skills in order to learn how to become a ‘buddy’.

They will be taught about the forms of bullying along with other activities and engage in competitions, which will be organised to promote a culture of friendship.

Following this programme, educators will identify 10 learners (Best Buddies) who will receive training at the Belvedere Therapy Centre.

These learners will be equipped with skills on how to identify troubled peers, appropriately access the situation and how to intervene by taking the affected child to an educator or counsellor.

These children will receive counselling from professionals at the school.

Buddy Garden

The school has built nine ‘friendship circles’, which comprise seats scattered around the school.

One of the nine areas is known as a ‘buddy bench’.

Learners who choose to sit in this section will indirectly ask for assistance, after which a Best Buddy will intervene.

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Corné Badenhorst, a social worker at Belvedere School who is involved in the project, said the programme seeks to shift the attention from the bullies to the victims.

Corné Badenhorst, social worker at Belvedere School, sits in the Buddy Garden.

“We feel that in schools we usually focus on the negative behaviour of the bully, and by doing that, we give the bullies the attention they want,” she said.

“Now we are going to focus on the buddy and enhance a culture of how to be a buddy.

“With this project, we want to focus on the buddy culture and by doing this, we hope to eliminate the bullies.”

Hannes du Plessis, the principal of Belvedere School, hopes to launch the project from the school’s resource centre and offer it to other schools.

Hannes du Plessis, principal of Belvedere School, addresses guests in the Buddy Garden.

“We all know that bullying is a problem at all schools and that it’s a problem which needs to be addressed at all schools,” he said.

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  AUTHOR
Kevin van der List
Editor

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