Wantagh's Mandalay Peer Buddies Program fosters positivity and understanding among students


The Peer Buddies Program at Mandalay Elementary School met for a little one-on-one time in the cafeteria for some fun and games. The program is a reverse mainstreaming social skills program for students in the 6:1:1 program. Thirteen Buddies from the third and fourth grade were selected among 70 applicants, which was a record-breaking year for the program.

This month’s activity consisted of students making a spring snack mix consisting of pretzels, granola, marshmallows, and Chex cereal as each student carefully measured, poured, and assisted their buddy as needed. Once the activity was completed, each pair, or trio, sat down to play computer games, followed by board games like Hungry Hungry Hippos, Hi-Ho Cheerio and more.

“Peer Buddies puts the biggest smile on my face,” Maura Lachance, Wantagh Supervisor of Special Education, said. “It is such a wonderful program that builds positive relationships for all. Thanks to all of the teachers, psychologists, staff, and aides who make this program possible.”

After being selected to participate in the program, fifth grader Sophia learned that everybody is unique. Other engaging conversations heard around the table between Buddies and Peers were about favorite colors and favorite parts of the day.

Throughout the school year, peers and Buddies gather during holiday and seasonal events for approximately 40 minutes where they participate in various activities.