*What is the Hand in Hand Program?
It is a program designed to match children with adults to be “buddies” during the school year. The staff member is their adult “friend” throughout the year, offering them extra support, attention, love, and guidance. This program has made a big difference in the lives of the students and adults involved.
Why Are Positive Teacher-Child Relationships Important?
Research has suggested that teacher-child relationships play a significant role in influencing young children’s social and emotional development. In studies of teacher-child relationships, children who had a secure relationship with their preschool and kindergarten teachers demonstrated good peer interactions and positive relationships with teachers and peers in elementary school. On the other hand, children who had insecure relationships with teachers had more difficulty interacting with peers and engaged in more conflict with their teachers. In addition, research has shown that teachers’ interaction styles with children help children build positive and emotionally secure relationships with adults. For instance, teachers’ smiling behaviors, affectionate words, and appropriate physical contact help promote children’s positive responses toward teachers. Also, children whose teachers showed warmth and respect toward them (e.g., teachers who listened when children talked to them, made eye contact, treated children fairly) developed positive and competent peer relationships. Moreover, children who had secure relationships with their teachers demonstrated lower levels of challenging behaviors and higher levels of competence in school. Research has suggested that teacher-child relationships play a significant role in influencing young children’s social and emotional development
*Who can be an adult buddy?
Any adult who works in the building can be a buddy.
* How are children chosen for the program?
Children are chosen based on need or adult choice. Children who need someone to give them extra time, attention, and support, in the school setting, are chosen. Adults may also request a particular child that they have already developed a bond with from a previous year. Students with high behavior referrals are included. Sometimes students are also referred by the IEP or IST teams. (We usually end up with a waiting list to participate.)
How much time is involved?
Adult buddies are asked to make ONE contact a week with their buddy. This can take place in many forms: talking to them in the morning, having lunch, putting a note in their locker, sending a letter in the mail, letting them help in their room, etc. Some adults choose to buy small gifts for birthdays and holidays, but this IS NOT required or expected – in fact, the time and attention of the adult is a much more valuable gift.
* Do parents know that their child has a buddy?
Yes. All children must return a signed permission slip to participate in the program.