At JFK, it is not uncommon for younger and older students to be working together and learning from each other.
During the first week of school, for example, seventh-graders and first-graders meet to discuss how they will be Mass buddies on Tuesdays. The older students help the younger students follow along during Mass when they sing, respond and pray.
The older students serve as positive role models as they help the younger students become even more familiar with the Mass. The seventh-graders have even been known to help the first-graders zip their coats and put on their hats and gloves. Eighth-graders and second-graders and sixth-graders and kindergartners are also “Mass buddies.”
“Bee Buddies” pairs fifth-graders with freshmen at St. Ambrose University in Davenport in a pen pal relationship. The highlight of this relationship often seems to be having lunch and ice cream at St. Ambrose.
Even first-graders work with younger students. After Christmas, first-graders read to kindergartners about once per week. Not only does it help the students with their reading skills, but it is also a great way for kindergartners to become familiar with the first-grade classrooms.
Kindergarten teacher Elizabeth Motto loves “having the first-graders come down to visit with me because I get to see how far they have progressed with their reading skills.” It is also fun, she shares, when the kindergartners take a turn and read to the first-graders.