There’s been a colourful addition to Knockadea National School with the recent unveiling of a Buddy Bench – an innovative method of promoting inclusiveness and friendship among young children. 

Firmly established on the continent and in the US, the Buddy Bench programme encourages pupils to look out for each other. So, if for any reason a child isn’t feeling themselves, they can hop on the Buddy Bench, which is the cue for classmates to check on their progress, reassure them and get them back among their circle of friends.

The novel scheme was made possible thanks to the generous sponsorship of Mitchelstown Credit Union, who were well represented at last Friday’s ceremony – Dermot Long, manager of Mitchelstown Credit Union said the credit union was delighted to be associated with such a worthy initiative. Laya healthcare also contributed to the project.

Speaking at the unveiling, school principal, Aileen O’Dwyer thanked the aforementioned as well as acknowledging the roles of Bruff Men’s Shed, who constructed the bench, Jennifer O’Mahony who oversaw the child-friendly art work and Mossie O’Mahony who did a very neat job paving the area surrounding the bench.

Aileen said the Buddy Bench scheme was part of the school’s wellness programme and underlined its commitment to being as inclusive as possible.

Micheál Fox and Katie McGrath cut the ribbon to unveil the bench while Adam Buckley-Bell read a citation. Keely Corbett and her son, Harrison Kiely presented Mrs O’Dwyer with a bouquet of flowers. Following formalities refreshments were served.