Lower school students develop leadership qualities through classroom jobs, special events and Lower School Gathering. When our youngest early childhood students step out of their classroom to deliver the attendance sheet to Eileen at the front desk, what seems a routine chore to most of us actually delivers a huge feeling of accomplishment to them. Young as they are, they are setting forth down some long hallways, past all sorts of big kids, all the way to the front door area, without a teacher, to deliver a very important accounting of their classroom community for the day! Even classroom jobs such as snack helper and library organizer build a sense of belonging and contributing that, along with individual learning and skill development, build self-esteem and pride.
As the eldest in the Lower School, fourth graders each have a turn to plan and emcee our weekly Lower School Gathering. They meet in small groups at lunch time, and with the support of a teacher, develop the content and organize the program for the gathering. On the big day, they address a large gathering of first through fourth graders. They make all announcements, introduce guest performers, and even tell jokes and share trivia. They are immensely proud of themselves and the younger students genuinely look up to them. Leading Lower School Gathering is the perfect preparation for student government and club opportunities that come in Middle School.
Lower school students find their school open and receptive to supporting their ideas and initiatives. There are many examples over the years of student-initiated community service leadership in addition to our pre-planned opportunities. Past examples have included initiating a knitting project to create a quilt of individual squares to donate to a family shelter and organizing a bake sale to raise money for earthquake and tsunami relief organizations. Additionally, through our partnership wth Design for Change students tackle important issues and discover their capscity for change and leadership. Here is a recent example: