Prairie's Buddy Program gives students young and old a chance to collaborate

It wasn’t all greeting cards and candy hearts this Valentine’s Day, but students throughout Prairie were sharing and feeling the love.

TPS took advantage of the annual holiday to celebrate friendship with one of Prairie’s many cherished traditions: the Buddy Program. Each semester, students from all three divisions gather in pairs or small groups to participate in fun, get-to-know-you activities. This month, buddies worked together to create Valentine cards for residents of local nursing homes as well as patients at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

During these activities, it’s not uncommon to see a six-foot senior crouched into a pint-sized desk chair, or to see little hands raised among the crowd in an Upper School classroom. In addition to bringing the students together physically, it’s also a chance for dialogue and learning across grade levels — getting many out of their comfort zones.

“The Buddy activities exemplify The Prairie School: a learning community that is student-centered and is all about relationships,” says Kathy Boero, Head of Middle School.

These get-togethers offer Primary School students the opportunity to learn from their older and wiser peers — and perhaps in exchange, bring some laughter and levity to a busy week. Middle School students get the best of both worlds, acting as the leader and the learner. And Upper School scholars, under the guidance of Dean of Students Elizabeth Davis, practice their leadership skills, coordinating the events across all three divisions.

“We have a wonderful group of student leaders who work to plan and execute these activities,” Davis explains. “They thoughtfully consider ideas to build relationships and have fun, and they do a great job.”