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The awesome buddy system

20 Dec 2016

Marcie and Miranda

Miranda Tay (right) was a buddy to young Marcie Chew (left) during the younger girl’s her first days at Rulang Primary School.

The first few days in a Primary School can be a daunting experience for both parents and children. The environment is vastly different from pre-school and may be a culture shock. Parents may also worry about how their children are settling into a new environment. To help new students, primary schools often have buddy systems, pairing older students with Primary One schoolmates.

Like many others her age, Marcie Chew felt first-day jitters as she entered Rulang Primary School. The Primary One student was worried about not being able to find her way to her classroom and the canteen. Marcie was also unsure about buying food at the canteen, or if she would find herself without friends.

Much to her relief, Miranda Tay, a Primary Six student, was there to ease Marcie’s worries.
She accompanied Marcie throughout recess time during the first three days of school.

The older girl
would patiently guide Marcie when ordering food and drink from the canteen stalls. When Marcie was having difficulty carrying a warm bowl of noodles, Miranda did not hesitate to lend a helping hand. Miranda also showed her younger friend how to return her used bowl and cutlery when she had finished her meal. Each small detail was not overlooked.

‘Guardian Angel’

Though Marcie and Miranda spent just three days together, the presence of a friend during recess time offered the younger girl some comfort and reassurance. Marcie grew in confidence and independence as she navigated around school, thanks to Miranda’s help.

“From my daughter, I got the impression that her buddy was a 'guardian angel' to her during recess. She was very patient and helpful,” shared Marcie’s mother, Mdm Yee Meihua. 

At the end of the third day, Marcie showed her gratitude by presenting Miranda with a handmade bracelet and card. To Marcie’s surprise, Miranda handed her a small gift as well.

“My daughter found the confidence to freely express herself by doing something nice for someone, rather than be afraid to do something different,” shared Mdm Yee.

For Mdm Yee, the presence of an older schoolmate was reassurance that Marcie would be able to cope well in school. “Though it was just three days, the buddy system helped my child and the presence of an older child affords a smooth transition to independence,” she said.

The simple but enriching experience made an impact on Marcie, such that she now looks forward to helping her younger schoolmates in future. “I want to become a buddy next time so that I can take care of other children,” she said.