Beechwood to build ‘buddy bench’

Published 12:52 pm Monday, April 7, 2014

 

Home Depot operations manager Rebecca Cater stands with Chiara Hoyt’s third-grade class at Beechwood Elementary Friday morning. The class pitched the idea for a “buddy bench” to be funded by Home Depot and installed on their playground to help prevent bullying.

Home Depot operations manager Rebecca Cater stands with Chiara Hoyt’s third-grade class at Beechwood Elementary Friday morning. The class pitched the idea for a “buddy bench” to be funded by Home Depot and installed on their playground to help prevent bullying.

A Beechwood Elementary teacher’s plan to make the playground a more supportive place received an unexpected boost from a local hardware store this week.

Home Depot agreed Friday to donate the materials needed to build a “buddy bench,” on the playground of the Warren County elementary school.

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Chiara Hoyt, a third-grade teacher at the school, said the idea came from a boy in Pennsylvania. He built a bench at his playground with the idea that children who were lonely or did not have anyone to play with could sit on it and a fellow student would notice and invite him or her to play.

“I showed my students an article about that earlier this year and they said that was something they’d like to do,” she said. “The idea of the bench is that you put it on the playground. You only go to sit on if you find yourself at recess feeling lonely. You sit on that bench and the idea is other children will see you and ask you to come play with them.”

Hoyt said she wanted to make the buddy bench a lesson as well, so she had the students do a pitch requesting Home Depot’s assistance.

“I got them to do a pitch to the principal first,” Hoyt said.

Friday, Hoyt’s students pitched the bench to Rebecca Cater, a representative with Home Depot.

Beechwood third-grader John Custer, 9, helps pitch the idea for a “buddy bench” to help prevent bullying.

Beechwood third-grader John Custer, 9, helps pitch the idea for a “buddy bench” to help prevent bullying.

Students used a Powerpoint presentation and made a pitch to Cater about why Home Depot should sponsor the bench.

“They’re going to be donating an easy-to-assemble bench,” Hoyt said.

Hoyt said she is eager to see how the bench affects the playground’s atmosphere.

“This is a very clear way for them to demonstrate they must need a friend. It does make it easy to promote positive social interactions,” she said. “It’s a way to reach out to other people and make sure everyone is included.”

The class, Hoyt and volunteers are planning to assemble the bench Saturday.