Shuler Elementary Kindergarteners Learn from 4th Grade Buddies

Kindergarteners at Shuler Elementary have much to look forward to with new learning topics and activities every day. Activities are sometimes done with the help of a fourth grade buddy, which each kindergartener is assigned to at the start of the year. The buddies meet periodically to share knowledge through fun games and workshops.

Sarah Vogl teaches kindergarten at Shuler Elementary.

“The system creates a closer community in our school and gives the kindergarteners role models and someone they know throughout the school and their neighborhood,” Vogl said. “This also gives the fourth graders a great opportunity to be leaders.”

In October, kindergarteners taught math games to their fourth grade buddies. The math games included multiple math skills the kindergarteners have worked hard to learn including number identification, number matching, 1-to-1 correspondence and matching quantities to numbers.

“My favorite part is spending time with them and being around them to help them learn,” said fourth grader Morgan Hill.

The fourth graders also have the opportunity to share their knowledge with their kindergarten buddies. Through creating skits and posters, the fourth graders taught and modeled the Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) to their kindergarten buddies.

“It’s fun to do arts and crafts with my buddy and read with them,” said fourth grader Shelby Dehnke.

Rona McMurphy, teaches the fourth grade class that pairs with Vogl’s kindergarteners. She said her class enjoys spending time with their buddies.

“I help my buddy with their learning by reading and writing with them,” said fourth grader Jacob Tatman.

Through sharing learning experiences and working together, the kindergartners and fourth graders provide support and feedback in a positive, uplifting environment.

“It’s fun to help them learn and also to see how much we have learned since kindergarten,” said fourth grader Ellie Peterson.

Vogl and McMurphy said the fourth graders gave descriptive and encouraging feedback during the practice writing celebration. As a result, the kindergarteners became more enthusiastic and proud of their work, motivating them to take on future projects with renewed vigor.

“As the students continue through Shuler, they will have built many positive relationships over the years and are eager to become the fourth grade buddies themselves,” Vogl said.