Buddies, SWIFTs and Prayer Pals
If you have had an opportunity to read our last OFSTED Report, you will have seen the following comment made by the Lead Inspector “Older pupils make an excellent contribution to the feeling of security that others experience by befriending younger pupils”.
As a Christian school, friendship is something we value enormously and our Buddy and S.W.I.F.T schemes are testament to just how important we feel it is.
‘Buddies‘ are children from Year Groups 5 and 6. Each successful Buddy (we usually have between 15 and 20) will have completed a formal application, been successful at interview and have received two days of training before they are paired with a younger child with whom they can build a friendship. ‘Big Buddies’ get to spend time with their ‘Little Buddies’ at playtime and we have a Buddy Lunch at least once every half-term where all of our buddies dine away from the rest of the school and they all seem to really enjoy this special time.
Alongside Buddies, we have a team of S.W.I.F.Ts (South Wilford Infant Friendship Team). Their role is to assist the staff on the playground as another pair of eyes and of course to support and befriend other children.
South Wilford Prayer Pals have evolved over the last two and a half years. We felt that was a need and opportunity for our youngsters not only to assist, but to take an active role in deepening the way we live out and learn about, the Christian faith.
The older children can apply to be a Prayer Pal and fill in an application stating their reasons as to why they are interested. They receive training from a youth worker and parent and are given a special badge which identifies them to their peers. This gives them the confidence to be able to support, talk to and work with their peers.
They run the Prayer and Reflection area and help to create and develop the ideas and activities on offer. They work with other children in thinking about and improving our Collective Worship and are free to suggest ideas to take our faith further.
We are really grateful to their commitment and time given and it is always encouraging for adults to see these youngsters working so caringly with other children.