The boom in student leadership in primary schools is inspiring.

It’s wonderful to see so senior students actively involved in SERVICE in so many ways.

There’s Anna in Year 5, who organised a book drive for her school library. She collected over 100 books from her classmates, neighbours, and family members. She sorted the books by genre and level and donated them to the library. She then led a small group at lunchtime to make bookmarks and posters to promote reading among her peers.

There’s the Year 6 leadership team that started a recycling club at their school. They each selected a class to work with collecting sorting recyclable materials from their classroom and playground.

Then there’s Year 6 students, Emma and Genevieve, who created a kindness campaign at their school. They wrote positive messages on sticky notes and placed them on the lockers, desks, and walls of their school. They encouraged classmates to complement each other as well as and teachers every day.  They succeeded in inspiring others to spread a little kindness and happiness.

While these activities are exemplary, they are my no means isolated. And they don’t happen by accident.

They occur when a school is ACTIVE in pursuit of student leadership excellence. When schools use:


Games to engage students in leadership

 Student leadership games are great fun, highly engaging and great at developing essential leadership skills.

Games such as The Marshmallow Challenge, The Human Knot and The Balloon Tower teach students essential leadership skills such as problem-solving, creativity and delegation.


Activities to develop leadership capabilities

Active lessons teaching the basics of leadership, leadership mindset development and skill stacks such as organisational skills and teamwork are an essential part of the student leadership development matrix. They are essential to building student leadership mindsets.

The use of a leadership framework helps students better understand leadership and provides a context for teachers to use in the many teachable moments that occur in classroom life.


Projects to deepen leadership competencies

Project work and student-initiated tasks like those undertaken by the students above give life to students’ leadership capacities. It’s where the action is in terms of student leadership.  It’s where students put into practice what they’ve learned. Projects involve risk-taking for both student and teachers.

In my experience, it’s about letting go and allowing students to use their initiative. Teacher guidance and support are essential for student success. It’s also helpful to provide students with personal leadership experience so they can develop skills in small groups before tackling bigger projects and tasks.


A final word…. or two

If you, like me, love an acronym then it’s easy to remember the basics of the ACTIVE student leadership movement.

You just need to remember the word GAP.

It stands for Games, Activities, Projects.

The foundation of ACTIVE leadership development in Young Leaders Program schools.

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