Earlier this year, we introduced you to the group of Year 8 students who had applied to become part of Longhill’s Peer Mentor Programme, which aims to help nominated primary school children with their transition into life at senior school. This year saw a bumper crop of students wanting to join the programme and a record 27 were offered a coveted place.
The Peer Mentors have been attending regular training sessions since before Christmas and recently spent a whole day at the Woodingdean Youth Centre, consolidating all that they’ve learnt into a final workshop. There they practised active listening, talked about diversity and difference, acted out various what you would do if scenarios, looked at the difference between mentors and friends, learnt about confidentiality and child protection and practised problem-solving skills.
They worked in groups, each tackling a different topic and prepared presentations which they gave to the whole group at the end of the session. Some groups illustrated their presentations by designing posters, some used labelled pictures, some used diagrams and some used bullet points. Each group had the same resources to work with but, interestingly, chose different ways to use them.
Jill Robson, who runs the Peer mentor Programme, explained, “Being a Peer Mentor is a big commitment and I am so proud of how hard these students have worked and also of how emotionally literate they are.” She went on, “The next stage of the process is for the students to write a letter to each of the Year 6 children that they’ve been matched with to introduce themselves before meeting in person. So, the training itself is finished and now the real work begins!”
Peer Mentors Imogen and Kacey told us, “It was a great day – a really interesting experience. We’re doing this because we want the new children coming to Longhill to feel comfortable and relaxed.” They added, “The most enjoyable part of the training has been learning to use problem-solving skills and getting to spend time with other people on the Peer Mentor Programme – people who we wouldn’t have met otherwise.”