Elementary and Middle School
A Friendship Program
Best Buddies builds friendships between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), offering social mentoring while improving the quality of life and level of inclusion for a population that is often isolated and excluded. Throughout their participation, people with an IDD form meaningful connections with their peers, gain self-confidence and self-esteem, and share interests, experiences, and activities that many other individuals take for granted.
How it Works
At the elementary level, a Best Buddies Chapter is an in-school friendship club that focuses less on disability and more on creating friendships between peers. We want students to recognize their similarities rather than focusing on their differences and learn to accept everyone for who they are by bonding over what they have in common. Children will learn what it means to be a good friend and develop their listening and teamwork skills through activities and games.
At the middle school level, the program continues to promote the same values but begins to foster friendships between students with and without an IDD.
The club is led by school staff with the support of the Best Buddies team. Best Buddies provides program and activity guides that outline how schools can organize their Chapters and are packed with fun and simple activities that the chapter can do together during their weekly or bi-weekly meetings.
The goal of the Best Buddies elementary and middle school program is to instill the values of inclusion and friendship in all students from a young age. We want students to have fun playing and learning together in the hope that they continue to promote these values through their high school years and into adulthood.
To Get Started
Starting Best Buddies at your elementary or middle school is simple.