Elementary school in Tuckahoe introduces 'Buddy Bench'

Marcus Solis Image
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
School comes up with unique way to include everyone at recess
Marcus Solis has the latest details.

TUCKAHOE, New York (WABC) -- Most kids look forward to recess at school, but for others it can be a lonely, and intimidating time, especially when there is no one to play with.

One school has a new way to make sure all kids are included.

The jungle gym: packed. The soccer field: busy. Now at William E. Cottle School in Tuckahoe, there's a new addition at the playground. It's called the buddy bench.

"The 'Buddy Bench' is where people sit and then other people ask them to play with them," said Adelina Coleman, a student.

It's a simple concept meant to keep kids from feeling left out. Recess is the best part of the day for many students, but not all.

"For some kids it is a really stressful time. 'Who am I going to play with? They're playing kick ball, I'm not good at kick ball,'" said Peter Killgalen, the Assistant Principal at William E. Cottle.

The "Buddy Bench" was created by a student in Pennsylvania, and they are now popping up at schools across the country.

In Tuckahoe, the PTA donated the bench which was unveiled this week.

Students were taught what to do if they see a classmate sitting on it.

"You should play with them, and invite them to play something and to play with you," said Maya Ito Chihaia, a student.

"It helps people make more friends," said Jack Freidman, a student.

Good citizenship is a point of emphasis at William Cottle. Previously, Eyewitness News featured the school's participation in a "Stuff the Bus" program where pajamas are donated to homeless children.

The principal says the "Buddy Bench" fits right in.

"If they are just talking about the purpose of a 'Buddy Bench' and that the purpose is to reach out to one another, and to make each other feel welcome, to me we succeeded," said George Albano, the Principal at William E. Cottle.

So far, the "Buddy Bench" is a big hit.