Building Friendships Across Grade Levels

Kemp Elementary Peer Helpers Motivate Younger Students

Last month, Kemp Elementary School’s counselors trained their newest group of Peer Helpers.  These 30 5thgrade students were invited to participate as Peer Helpers because they are strong role models for younger students. The two-hour training fully prepares these leaders to assist other students, and once trained, the Peer Helpers spend about 20 minutes per week with their assigned student.  During the training, students learn ways to work with younger students, such as giving praise, handling incorrect answers, maintain confidentiality, and positive behavior management strategies.

Each year from January to April, the Peer Helpers work with targeted kindergarten, 1st, and 2ndgrade students who could benefit from additional academic support. In groups of two or three, the Peer Helpers work with the younger students on specific academic skills, including sight words, letter recognition, number recognition, reading fluency, addition and subtraction facts, as well as sequencing story elements. The Peer Helper and their new buddy may spend time together in the classroom, in the hallway, or in the media center.

School counselors, Jenni Briggs and Michelle Stevens, love this aspect of their school counseling program at Kemp.  They shared, “It is a wonderful program to build leadership skills, empathy, and responsibility in our 5thgrade students.  Additionally, our younger students benefit from some extra academic support and enjoy working with an older student.  They both enjoy building these friendships with each other.”

Alexandra Huguelet, School Counseling Consultant, and Jenni Briggs, School Counselor
School Counseling

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