Five years ago, Mark Staudt, physical education teacher at Crim Primary School in New Jersey, was teaching a class for students with severe disabilities and autism. While he was looking for a better way to connect with these students, he remembered a program he had heard of five years prior that paired older students with special needs kids, and he created the Crim Buddy Program.
Since the implementation of the program, students with disabilities have been able to be in classrooms with fewer restrictions and they feel more comfortable being around larger groups of kids. In the meantime, the older “buddies” have had the opportunity to learn more about leadership and empathy. Staudt may not have realized the impact of his experiment when he began, but it is evident that the program he started is improving the learning environment at Crim Primary School.
Learn more about the Crim Buddy Program