Attending a K-12 school can offer a number of exciting opportunities for students of all ages to connect with one another. In an effort to continue fostering these opportunities, Lower School Principal Dr. Han implemented the Kindergarten/6th Grade Buddy Program. The program pairs a kindergartner with a sixth grader (sometimes two), who serves as a friend, playmate, and mentor to his or her buddy throughout the year. Read below to learn more about Dr. Han’s vision for this program.
Tell us a little bit about the Buddy Program. How did you come up with the idea?
In thinking about the beauty of being in a K-12 school, we wanted to establish the sixth-grade’s identity as the leaders of the lower school. I get the question all the time – are they a part of the lower or middle school? Even though the sixth grade can enjoy some perks of being in middle school (e.g., lockers, dances, and the House System), I want them to know that lower school students look up to them, and they have a great opportunity to be role models to the younger students.
What types of things have the kids done together this year?
Students play together during recess and attended the Lower School Science Fair and Zoo Atlanta together (pictured above). Sixth-grade students read to their kindergarten buddies, and at the end of the year, the kindergarten students will read to their sixth-grade buddies to show how much they have learned!
What feedback have you heard from kindergartners and sixth-graders?
They absolutely love this! I see sixth-grade students getting hugged by their kindergarten buddies all the time.
What do you think the advantages of the program are? How do you think it helps each age group?
We hope that our current sixth-grade students will continue to connect with their buddies throughout their educational journey at ACA, so that when our sixth graders become seniors, our kindergartners will be in sixth grade and have a new kindergarten buddy of their own! Through this program, our kindergartners have a student role model, and our sixth graders are empowered with a new sense of confidence as they enter middle school.
How does the program tie into our school virtues?
We highlight Service for our sixth-grade students as we emphasize the joy of serving our younger ACA students. We will begin next year with a sixth-grade leadership retreat to reiterate their identities as lower school servant-leaders. We have planned out some fun and meaningful activities throughout the school year as well. We’re excited for what’s to come.