Budding up against bullying

A PROGRAM designed to help reduce bullying and create a friendly and caring school environment was launched in Newborough last week.

As part of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation and the National Australia Bank initiative working to keep children safe from violence, Newborough Primary School opened the Newbees Better Buddies Friendship Shop last week.

Newborough Primary School social skills teacher Jill Mastwyk said the friendship shop was opened as a safe haven for students.

The Alannah and Madeline Foundation Better Buddies initiative helps students entering their first year of primary school to feel safe, valued and connected to the school community, according to Ms Mastwyk.

The school pairs new students with an older buddy to help with their transition.

“The friendship shop offers support with student leaders who listen and provide understanding, care and help for children who may feel uncomfortable, lonely, unsafe or may just need some time out,” Ms Mastwyk said.

“It offers a happy, safe area where children can talk, listen and complete activities.”

Ms Mastwyk said the aim of the unique program was to support the statewide Better Buddies Safety initiative which advocates anti-bullying in school.

Led by the junior school council leadership team, students volunteer their time to support younger students at the school.

“Many hundreds of schools are involved over Victoria and our friendship shop is our first initiated event since becoming a part of the program,” Ms Mastwyk said.

The school recently held a casual clothes day and fundraiser to support the foundation.