Nisal and Natasha from Keilor Views Primary School explain how it feels to be both an older and younger buddy.
When Nisal and Natasha started prep in 2007, their school was one of 30 taking part in our Better Buddies Framework pilot. Six years later, the pair have taken on the important responsibility of being older buddies.
Our Better Buddies Framework pairs new primary school students with an older buddy to help students entering their first year of primary school to feel safe, valued and connected to the school community.
Better Buddies is now in almost 2000 Australian schools, thanks to the support of NAB, trusts and foundations and other community partners.
Nisal explains why his younger buddy Ella is so special and what it was like having an older buddy.
Ella and I met each other for the first time at the start of the year. Ella was shy to start with but as we've spent more time together she now talks and talks and talks and talks every time we catch up. I liked seeing how she went from shy to really talkative.
When we first met, we spent some time getting to know each other and talking about the things we both like. Ella loves Peppa Pig. She also likes drawing. On that first day, she drew a picture of Peppa Pig.
We have lots of laughs. In our buddy sessions, we do activities together like reading. Whenever I see her in the yard, I always stop to talk.
I like seeing her smile. Ella always comes up and talks to me in the yard too. Younger buddies look up to you and that's nice to know.
It's nice to be a role model. It feels good to be an older buddy.
I remember I had two buddies when I was in prep. Their names were Harlene and Aaron. I remember having them around and remember it was comforting to know that they were always there if I needed them. I remember always looking up to them. It's easy for preps to get lost and end up where they're not meant to be in the school yard and older buddies can help in situations like that. It was always good to know that someone was there in case you got in some type of trouble.
I hope when Ella is in grade six, she gets to also enjoy being an older buddy. I hope she doesn't have too much trouble growing up and working her way through school.
Natasha talks about her younger buddy Tomas and why older buddies are important.
Tomas likes to call himself Mr Clever. He likes to draw and he draws me very cute pictures. I like to hear his stories. Tomas likes to tell me about the different things he's been doing. He's very funny. He's just so nice.
In our buddy sessions, we do lots of different activities together like art and craft activity. We also read books.
When Tomas sees me in the yard, he always comes and hugs me and talks to me. We often hang around in the yard and talk.
When we first met the preps at the start of the year, they were very nervous, quiet and shy but once we all began to get to know each other the preps started to get more confidence.
I remember when I was in prep my buddy was named David. I remember all my friends having buddies that were girls and at first I wished I had a girl buddy but once I got to know him I really liked him, felt really comforted by him and was happy he was my buddy. It was nice to know he was there for me.
I remember once in our buddy sessions, we made a book together about how school works and where to find your buddies in the yard. I remember him always coming and talking to me in the yard. It was nice to know he was always by my side.
I hope Tomas remembers me. I hope he always has people there for him when I've left the school.
For more information on Better Buddies, visit www.betterbuddies.org.au or call 1300 341 343.
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