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Third grade and kindergarten buddies make connections at Plymouth Elementary School
Two girls sorting jelly beans


At the K-3 elementary schools in Colonial, the older students often have opportunities to serve as mentors through a buddy program with younger children. At Plymouth Elementary School (PE), third graders from Mrs. Erwin’s class visited Mrs. Williams’ kindergarten class to work together on a math lesson.

The buddies each got a small bag of different colored jelly beans. First they sorted the jelly beans and then counted how many they had of each color.

“My favorite part was sorting the jelly beans, because it was so fun,” said PE kindergartner Luke Diman. “I learned that there can be zero for some [of the colors of] jelly beans.”

Then, they filled in blocks on a graph to show how many they had of each color.

“My partner colored the amount of bars we needed for the numbers. She graphed them so well. I was really amazed,” said PE third grader Tyler Yuen.

“We’re celebrating spring with jelly beans,” said PE kindergarten teacher Suzanne Williams. “It’s always fun to graph something that we get to eat later.”

three boys smiling


The third graders worked with their buddies to add, subtract and compare the numbers of the different colored jelly beans. The lesson reinforced concepts that the kindergartners are learning in class, including math vocabulary like combine, more, fewer, less and take away.

“[The graph] lets me know how many jelly beans are of each,” said PE kindergartner Dhyana Pancham. “I got green as the least, and I got red as the most.”

The older students enjoy working with the younger students and serving as an example.

“It’s fun being a leader,” said PE third grader Simone Suber-James.

“I like being a mentor, because I get to teach people,” added Tyler. “It’s just fun watching them succeed.”

The buddies get together several times during the year. The next time the third graders and kindergartners will be in the same school will be when they are seniors and ninth graders at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School.