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Ipswich school has best buddies scheme

PUBLISHED: 13:05 12 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:32 03 March 2010

FUN, fitness – and, above all, friendship.

Those are the themes of the Buddies Lunch Club at Whitehouse Infants School in Ipswich, which has proved a big hit with pupils, ensuring there is never a dull moment at breaktime.

FUN, fitness – and, above all, friendship.

Those are the themes of the Buddies Lunch Club at Whitehouse Infants School in Ipswich, which has proved a big hit with pupils, ensuring there is never a dull moment at breaktime.

Every day at lunchtime, a group of slightly older pupils – seven-year-olds from year two – eagerly put on their brightly-coloured buddies T-shirts and baseball caps.

Then they set up a whole range of fun activities and games in the playground, and encourage younger children to take part.

Teaching assistant Jackie Hurren has developed the scheme to encourage good behaviour and help children to learn citizenship skills.

"It is great to see how popular the traditional games are with the children – things like marbles, skipping ropes and cat's cradle," she said.

"We also have quite a few other games like pick-up sticks, Jengo, giant draughts, French cricket and five stones.

"There are always some quieter activities such as books, jigsaws and colouring, too."

Mrs Hurren said she has elected teams of buddies from year two who would be sensible role models for the younger children, and given them training on how to organise the games.

"Behaviour has definitely got better at lunchtime since we started the buddies club. It is lovely to see how well the children respond," she said.

Headteacher Liz Gerrie added: "We knew we wanted to improve the quality of games and this seemed a good way of promoting citizenship and personal skills.

"The buddies will adapt the games for children who find it more difficult, and they do this without being asked."

Lunchtime supervisors turn the rope for skipping and parents have been getting involved by teaching their children the rhymes and traditional games they enjoyed at school.

The older children clearly enjoy the responsibility of organising the activities and helping the smaller ones.

Each game is carefully chosen so there is no limit on the number of youngsters taking part, meaning everyone can choose what they'd like to do.

The pupils organising the games have little badges to give out to reward good behaviour. If there is any dispute, the children concerned are asked to move away.

Most children seemed to find it quite hard to choose between all the tempting games on offer, so they tended to try one for a while, then move on to another fun activity.

Mrs Gerrie said she would like to see other schools taking up the lunch club idea because it has proved so popular.


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