Keilor Views Primary School, in Melbourne, recently held a special school assembly to celebrate five years of participating in the Better Buddies Framework.

Student Engagement Coordinator, Gloria Puopolo, said the school is committed to having programs and policies in place for student wellbeing, such as Better Buddies.

Since joining the Framework in 2007, staff members at Keilor Views Primary School have noticed a positive change in the school culture.

“Students will now often sort out their own problems in an effective way while still including teachers in the process; they feel a lot safer knowing that these issues are being addressed.” Gloria said.

“Staff members are also seeing the benefits of the framework; they feel supported and can really see the positive outcomes as they happen.”

The Better Buddies Framework is so flexible it can be tailored by teachers to suit the individual needs of their own school’s curriculum and culture.

Back in 2007, the Keilor Views Primary School teachers recognised the value of implementing buddy systems for students.

“At the start of each year, the prep students pair up as ‘buddies’ with the grade six students,” Gloria said.

“Then students in the other year levels pair up and become ‘buds’. Not only do the students in the school have a buddy or bud, but each teacher has one too.

“Teachers are able to support each other with the implementation of classroom activities and programs that involve the buddies and buds, including excursions to the zoo for science, buds and buddies games for physical education and peer teaching for maths,” Gloria said.

At the same school assembly on 30 July, the school also celebrated becoming an eSmart school.

eSmart, The Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s cybersafety initiative, is a world-leading system to help schools manage cybersafety and deal with cyberbullying and bullying.2 - Students are proud to become an eSmart school

Since completing eSmart’s implementation phase, teachers and students have noticed significant cybersafety benefits through their day-to-day curriculum and classroom activities.

“Devices such as netbooks, iPads and iPod Touches are being used across the curriculum to enhance student learning,” Gloria said.

“eSmart is helping develop students into safe and responsible users of technology by teaching specific technology skills and strategies to keep students safe online.

“The students now understand the importance of being cybersafe and are aware of what actions they can take if they are being cyberbullied, such as reporting anything unsafe or concerning they have seen online.”

One significant benefit of Better Buddies is the way in which it compliments other wellbeing programs, such as eSmart, while still keeping in line with the teachers’ busy schedules.

“Better Buddies fits particularly well in the eSmart domain of building a respectful and caring school community, and forming partnerships with the local community and parents,” Gloria said.

Both prevention initiatives of The Alannah & Madeline Foundation operate under a whole-school approach to ensure the delivery of the same safety messages to all students and parents.

For more information about eSmart, visit www.esmart.org.au 

Better Buddies
Better Buddies