Student Leadership is Elementary!
Target 2 – Leadership in a Student Centered Learning Environment FWSU will foster the development of teacher and student leaders who provide innovative opportunities for local and global student-centered learning.
Action Step – Develop learning habits, communication and problem-solving skills necessary for collaborative learning and leadership.
Indicator of Success – Student voice will have the power to impact the perceptions of others.
Students learn to be leaders as early as preschool. While we sometimes think about leadership as a role for older students, supporting our youngest learners in developing the skills necessary to be leaders sets the stage for productive future citizenship. It also helps students feel vested in their school, local and global communities during their youngest and most formative years. Fostering leadership skills early becomes the scaffolding we need for our future.
Fletcher Elementary is a Responsive Classroom school. That means that we follow a set of seven Guiding Principles that support a rigorous and respectful learning environment. This approach begins by emphasizing children’s roles as leaders in their classrooms and across school settings.
During the first days of school teachers work with students to generate classroom rules and expectations. This process is built upon foundational ideas- Be safe, Be respectful, Be prepared. The process and language may be different in various settings and at different age levels. Student leaders articulate what is necessary for all students to achieve their hopes and dreams. They learn that their ideas are heard, valued and respected. They have opportunities to practice asserting their thoughts and suggestions for maintaining a positive climate.
Another Essential Practice of student leadership within the Responsive Classroom approach is a daily Morning Meeting. Classroom meetings include a greeting, sharing, activity and morning message that offer opportunities for students to learn and practice leadership skills. They work collaboratively and cooperatively as part of a team. Morning Meetings build on previous experiences. Preschool and kindergarten students might practice leadership at Morning Meeting by leading the group in song or by sharing an experience from the weekend. As students build upon their leadership skills and comfort level, they might assume responsibility for facilitating the entire meeting.
The process of creating rules and participating in Morning Meeting provides opportunities for all students to learn and practice leadership skills. These skills are then generalized to all areas of the curriculum and greater community. The Responsive Classroom approach is one of several tools used at Fletcher to foster student leadership at the elementary level.