The Buddy Program at Fort Lee's School 4 is set to be the spotlight of a segment on NJTV's Classroom Close-up to air May 5th.
The Buddy Program, now in its sixth year, pairs sixth-graders with Kindergartners to help them adjust to the transition of being in the school. In return, the sixth-graders are given a sense of responsibility.
According to Kindergarten teacher Rita Ranieri, the program creates a strong bond between the students.
"Whenever they see eachother in the hallway, or in the lunch room, there's an immediate connection," Ranieri said.
The program, started by School 4's guidance counselor Nancy Sanders, pairs each sixth-grader up with a Kindergartner at the beginning of every school year. The students then meet each month to work on projects together. The sixth-graders keep a journal of their experience while the Kindergartners draw a picture.
Since the implementation of the program, Sanders said that disciplinary issues among sixth-graders have dropped considerably.
"When they are assigned a buddy, they are charged with a responsibility that they take very seriously," Sanders said. "A responsiblity that they don't want to jeopardize."
Because of the success of the program, NJTV's Classroom Close-up chose School 4's program to feature in a show highlighting successful school Buddy Programs.
Classroom Close-up is an eleven-time Emmy winning show that features innovative programs going on in public school classrooms around New Jersey. It is a co-production of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) and NJTV.
Sanders told Patch that the program empowers sixth-graders to be an integral part of the school community.
"Through this program, they develop empathy, sympathy and confidence," she said.
"It's also an effective learning tool for everyone involved in the program," she added.
The show is scheduled to air on May 5 on NJTV and will be repeated on May 11, June 2 and June 8. Check your local listing for times.