Milton-Stateline Buddy Program Connects Kids

June 22, 2019 | Education | Kristin Fry

Milton-Stateline Adventist School in Milton-Freewater, Ore., has a unique and rewarding buddy program. Our third and fourth graders get together with the preschoolers and kindergartners once a week to read together as a “reading buddies” group. We have had reading buddies here for several years.

Our seventh and eighth graders escort the preschool and kindergarten students to class in the mornings. These times of interaction help younger students feel more comfortable talking to the older kids.

This year we have expanded these programs with “classroom buddies.” The fifth and sixth graders meet every Thursday to read with first and second graders. They also work together with buddies to do activities at least once a month.

For example, the fifth and sixth graders made paper crowns with their buddies, while learning about the kings in the Bible. They also do fun activities for major holidays. Thanksgiving was spent making and eating a feast; at Christmas they baked and decorated cookies; and on Valentine’s Day crafted many Valentines. The classroom groups go together on field trips and discover it is more fun with your buddy.

Older students enjoy connecting with the younger ones, and the younger ones have someone to look up to as they grow from year to year until they graduate from eighth grade. The teachers have noticed this encourages the younger students, making reading more exciting, and it has given them self confidence in interacting with children in other grade levels. It helps nurture the family atmosphere at Milton-Stateline Adventist School.