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Heathcote holds mix-it-up buddy lunch


Youngsters at Heathcote Elementary School held a “Mix-It- Up Buddy Lunch” May 12 as part of the school’s Circle of Friends initiative, and in addition to bonding with fellow students, many met State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, who visited and checked out the Buddy Lunch.

In addition to getting a student-led tour of Heathcote’s recent art and poetry exhibition, Ms. Paulin visited the Buddy Lunch, which takes place several times a year. Students are paired at lunch and recess with other students in a different grade to encourage bonding and discourage bullying. Every class has a buddy class, which encourages a connectedness within the school. Teachers often eat with the students as well. Kindergartners eat with third-graders, first graders eat with fourth graders and second graders eat with fifth graders.

“The Buddy Lunch is effective because younger students can learn from older students, ask them questions about school, and feel connected to the school,” said school psychologist Jennifer Turetzky, who invited Ms. Paulin to attend. “Our older students really enjoy it. They can act as mentors to younger students and really get to know them.” The buddy program has been in existence at Heathcote for 11 years as part of the school’s Circle of Friends program.