Students Build Friendships and Foundations Through Kinder Buddies

Story by Mr. Matt Meister, District 49 Director of Communications

"I like it when they come to read," said Christina Lopez, 5, kindergarten student at Rocky Mountain Classical Academy, about the kinder buddies program. "But this is fun too!" Students were doing holiday crafts with their partners Dec. 9.

Kinder buddies brings fourth-graders together with kindergarten students each week. The older students often read to the younger students, do crafts and activities with them and participate in character development exercises together.

"I like it because we get to know them," said Christina's partner, fourth-grader Abigail Warbington, 9. "We get to their personalities so we know what book they'd like us to read and how they'd like us to read it."

"Not only to my students help the kindergartners learn how to read better," said Barb Frederiksen, fourth grade teacher, "they learn leadership. They get to do character traits together, like pick up trash around the school and other projects that build up who they are."

Rocky Mountain Classical Academy's mission includes supporting parents in "developing citizens of integrity and character who are equipped with a strong knowledge base and academic skills."

"This school is all about making new friends," said fourth-grader Kohen Decker, 10. "Our character traits are all about that." Kohen is paired with his brother, Adam, 5, for the kinder buddies gatherings.

"I teach him how to read better," said Kohen. "Plus, he gets to see his brother!" Kohen said the two get along at school as well as they get along at home.

The older students are aware of the value they bring to the young learners through the collaboration.

"They learn in different ways," Kohen said. "Maybe they understand other kids different than adults."

Matt Meister