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New ‘Buddy Bench’ to encourage playground inclusion

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BY MICHELLE CREAN

One local school unveiled an innovative and colourful addition to their school this week – a ‘Buddy Bench’ to promote inclusion and deter playground bullying.

Tiernaboul National School, who recently signed up to become a ‘Health Promoting School’ (HPS), launched the new child friendly bench which was kindly constructed and donated by members of Barraduff Men’s Shed.

“We had heard that other schools around the country had successfully introduced the concept of a buddy bench,” Fiona Cronin, HPS co-ordinator, said.

“The idea is that if a child in the playground feels lonely, sad or isolated and they have no one to play with, they can go and sit on the ‘Buddy Bench’ and then other children will come over and ask them to join in games or just sit and talk.

“We thought it was a great idea; to encourage friendships and inclusion, develop empathy and social skills and prevent bullying by teaching the values of kindness and respect.”

She added that being a small school with a small budget, they are always trying to keep costs down.

“We had read that Men’s Shed groups had occasionally made ‘Buddy Benches’ for their local schools.

“During the summer at a health event, one of the parents, Lynn Swinburne, who is on the HPS committee, met Pat O’Mahony, founder of the Barradubh Men’s Shed, and she asked if they could make a bench for Tiernaboul School.”

Pat kindly agreed to help the school, even though the Barradubh Men’s Shed is only in its infancy.

The bench was then skilfully crafted by Ted O’Leary, a member of the Barradubh Men’s Shed.

It was painted in bright colours by parent John Sheahan, and the school community is incredibly grateful for the time and effort given by everyone to this project, she added.

“The ‘Buddy Bench’ will be used for years to come. It will give children the subtle message that reaching out for help is often a healthy strategy to deal with problems.

“Work will be done on mental health projects in the classroom and children will be encouraged to talk and share their worries, instead of bottling things up; an important lesson to learn for future years.”

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Local author’s debut book makes Late Late Toy Show

Killarney art psychotherapist Katie O’Donoghue was delighted to spot her first children’s book on last Friday’s Late Late Toy Show! ‘The Little Squirrel Who Worried’ was written and illustrated by Katie, and published by Gill Books in July. With almost every eye in Ireland on the Toy Show every year, children’s authors, illustrators and publishers […]

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Killarney art psychotherapist Katie O’Donoghue was delighted to spot her first children’s book on last Friday’s Late Late Toy Show!

‘The Little Squirrel Who Worried’ was written and illustrated by Katie, and published by Gill Books in July.

With almost every eye in Ireland on the Toy Show every year, children’s authors, illustrators and publishers compete for a much-coveted spot on the set. Aware that her book had been sent to Ryan, but not having heard anything from RTÉ, Katie was thrilled to see it in a prominent position. It was a wonderful surprise to discover ‘The Little Squirrel Who Worried’ had been placed in the front row of the book corner. There, it had a little chair of its own and was even embraced by a cuddly toy.

It was visible many times over the course of the evening, particularly during the book discussion, an incredibly proud moment for first-time author Katie.

“I have to admit, when I saw ‘The Little Squirrel Who Worried’ cradled in the teddy’s arms, I may have jumped up and down with excitement,” Katie told the Killarney Advertiser.

What began as a lockdown project while Katie was living in London and missing her family in Kerry, is providing comfort to children around the world.

Using a gentle story with gorgeous illustrations, Little Squirrel and his forest friends teach young people a variety of simple coping techniques.

“These skills will benefit children their entire lives and the book is even helpful for adults who are prone to worrying and overthinking,” she added.

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No 2021 return for Killarney on Ice

By Michelle Crean Fans of the ice will be disappointed to hear that Killarney on Ice will not return for a second year. Following its huge popularity year on year since returning to Killarney in 2015, the promoters of Killarney on Ice are disappointed to confirm that they are unable to operate again this year. […]

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By Michelle Crean

Fans of the ice will be disappointed to hear that Killarney on Ice will not return for a second year.

Following its huge popularity year on year since returning to Killarney in 2015, the promoters of Killarney on Ice are disappointed to confirm that they are unable to operate again this year.

Rising case numbers, uncertain COVID-19 restrictions, and insurance challenges have been the main drivers behind the decision not to open, according to the company.

As Kerry’s only festive ice rink, the facility has brought much fun and life to the town over the years, attracting thousands of people from all over the county, and indeed the whole country, with many families coming to stay overnight in Killarney and enjoying all that this great town has to offer.

As well as friends and families coming to skate, schools, youth clubs, sports teams and employees of local companies use the group booking discount rate to plan sessions on the ice, and Killarney on Ice would like to thank them all for their continuing loyalty.

“We sincerely hope to be back better and stronger in 2022, and we look forward to welcoming all of our valued customers,” Tim O’Donoghue, the promoter of the rink, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“In the meantime, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.”

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