Each week a group of Secondary students join with buddies from South Creek School for 30 minutes of fun and interaction. 20 Norwest students and staff from Year 7-11 walk across the road to join with 10 South Creek School students from Kindy-Year 5. While we are only a few weeks into the program the progress has been very encouraging.
We start inside with an activity with food (fairy bread) or a craft (paper rockets) and usually head outside as well with sports equipment, parachutes, and trampolines. It is lots of fun!
Our Secondary students are out of their comfort zone, and they are learning to deal with a number of challenges:
· Communication/Ability – our South Creek buddies have limited language ability and the adaptability of our students to ensure effective communication has been impressive
· Behaviour – the ability of our students to redirect their buddies for focus and completion of a task as well as to distract them from emotion is developing
· Leading – modelling how to follow instructions, share and take turns is a crucial part of the buddy program
· Saying “see you later” – we want to have more time and leaving each week makes us all a bit sad
· Catching up missed schoolwork – we are missing lessons, and each student is expected to catch up work that has been missed
The South Creek staff have given very encouraging feedback about the impact being made by our students in their interactions.
My favourite part of the program is the walk back and listening to our students excitedly talking about the cute things that their buddy said or did and the progress they’re making.
Secondary students are learning values and skills (such as putting others first, gratitude, decision-making, valuing our own abilities, communication, collaboration, humility, etc) and, in relation to service, I trust they are learning:
· Serving is simple
· Serving is a privilege
· Serving is fun
At Norwest we consistently discuss with students how to serve others coming from Matthew 22 where Jesus summarises “all of the Law” with the expression Love God with all your heart, soul and mind; and love your neighbour as yourself. Most commonly we describe this as “treat others how you want to be treated” and explain that “our neighbours” are all of those with whom we interact (and not simply the people in the house next door), so it’s nice to actually be serving the next door neighbours to the College.
If your children have an idea for serving in or with the College community encourage them to let us know and listen out for future service opportunities offered to students.