By Melissa Legg, Kindergarten Teacher
The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are turning brilliant colors, and we are entering into a very exhilarating time of year. As a kindergarten teacher, I get to see the uninhibited excitement of 18 5- and 6-year-olds as the holiday season is well under way. However, I must say that even the excitement of Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving dinner, and hoping for the first snowfall doesn’t hold a candle to what happens on Friday afternoons in the kindergarten classrooms.
Let me set the stage for you. It’s Friday afternoon, lunch is over, and the hubbub of excitement is at its highest level of the week. In about 10 minutes there will be several celebrities visiting the kindergarten classrooms. That’s right. We have celebrities attending The Langley School! These celebrities are sports stars, artists, actors and actresses, musicians, and wonderful role models.
Now, it is one minute until the 1:45 p.m. bell will ring and there is so much anticipation in the kindergarten classrooms that the students can barely sit still. They are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their Big Buddies. As the bell rings and the Big Buddies (our Langley celebrities) come into the classroom, the best time of the week is finally here!
The Big Buddy/Little Buddy program is a wonderful part of our year here at The Langley School. Each kindergarten student is paired with an eighth-grade student for the entire year. Every Friday, the Big Buddies come to the kindergarten classrooms to spend time with their Little Buddies. During this time, the buddies work together on art projects, play outside, draw pictures, read books, play board games, and get to know each other.
As teachers, we get to observe a very special bond forming between the younger and older students. This program allows the Big Buddies the chance to expand their leadership roles within the school and build their confidence. It can be a challenging, yet extremely rewarding experience that stretches many comfort zones. We have seen Big Buddies do everything from (patiently) teach a 5-year-old how to play chess, to (happily) act like writhing pythons in the grass during an imaginative game outside.
From the perspective of the Little Buddies, it allows them to see what lies beyond their classroom. Kindergarten is a time when students are just beginning to broaden their world beyond themselves. Spending time with a Big Buddy is not only the greatest 50 minutes of the week; it is also extremely instrumental in their personal growth and development. Kindergartners not only idolize their Big Buddies; they learn from them as well.
So, each Friday as you are counting down the minutes to the weekend, know that there is something very exciting happening at The Langley School in the kindergarten classrooms.