Sunday, October 8, 2017

Set Up a Buddy Program at Your School

Buddy Programs are so wonderful! They allow a child with special needs to be paired up with a typical peer that becomes their buddy. They and their buddy have lunch together, hangout, help one another out, recognize one another for special events, and whatever else good friends do. Our students not only get to have a buddy, but they also get to be a buddy to someone too! The Buddy Program gives children a sense of belonging and is a great way to build and sustain relationships between general education and special education children.

Have you wanted to implement a Buddy Program at your school, but didn't know where to start? 

Well today I'm sharing my Buddy Pack with you that will provide you with everything you'll need to start your own Buddy Program and it's editable!

It's super easy to implement and includes Step-by-step directions.
The Buddy Program should be optional, so a "Volunteer Student Letter" is included that you will have GE teachers send home with their students. Depending on how many buddies you need, you may want to start with just inviting one GE class to participate as you don't want to end up with too many buddies to assign. 1-2 buddies per student is good.
 A blank Volunteer Student Letterhead is included in case you'd like to customize your own letter.
Attach the "Share Your Favorites" Sheet to the "Volunteer Student Letter" to help your students learn a little bit about their buddies.
 A Good Buddy Checklist is included to help buddies understand their responsibilities as a buddy. You will review this with your buddies once you know who they are and meet with them.
 Buddy Slips are used to assign buddies and include a short paragraph about their buddies interests, favorites, or maybe even their least favorite things. This is where you will also include important information a buddy may need to know.
 Use the "Buddy Assignment Sheet" to keep track of your buddy assignments and designated times if applicable.
My students love having a buddy and being a buddy too! My buddies typically have lunch together, play at recess, and come into my classroom and help. They are also invited to our class birthday parties and other celebrations. This year I'm going to try to also plan a Buddy Pizza Party. 

You will find that some of your buddies will dwindle in the beginning as you'll have that handful of kids that won't take it serious and will decide they'd rather play with their own friends. But that's okay. You can always recruit other classes and you'll always end up with a handful of dedicated, loyal buddies. I also like to switch up my buddies from time to time and offer sign ups at different times throughout the year. 

You can download the FREE Buddy Program Pack here and get started at your school today!

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