So why should your school become a Young Leaders School?

A very good question.

Narrowing down the many reasons to the top seven is difficult because there are so many different types of schools using the program, including public, private, faith-based, large, small, city and rural schools.

There are also Young Leaders schools in many countries including England, United States, Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia. What is the essence and uniqueness of the Young Leaders Program that spans across geographical and cultural differences?

The following seven reasons are the most valid and powerful reasons to become a Young Leaders Schools.


1. School culture is positively impacted over the long-term


Culture expert and educator Steve Simpson defines culture as “the things an organisation (such as a school) continually does without being reminded. It’s the way we do things around here.”

Attitudes and behaviours become hard-wired into the DNA of a school so they are repeated yearly.

The Young Leaders Program impacts on school culture by establishing a leadership culture right where it matters most- at the top end of primary school.

Behaviours and attitudes become embedded in the way students interact with each other, how they think and how they behave. These behaviours and attitudes are repeated in the following years.


2. The evergreen framework fits easily into existing curricula which teachers can easily reinforce


The signature Young Leaders framework is solid, has depth, and it works.

The framework helps teachers nurture character, builds competencies, and enables teachers to provide multiple contexts for leadership to flourish. Importantly, it enables teachers to easily build upon the concepts introduced without at added lessons or activities.


3. Personal leadership precedes public leadership


The most underrated strength of the Young Leaders approach is that it places a focus on personal leadership before public leadership.

Many schools elect or select students into leadership positions when they’ve had little opportunity to develop their leadership competencies in private.

Students need friendships skills before they build a team; conversational skills before speaking publicly; personal organisation abilities before being required to organise an event.

The focus on personal leadership before public leadership is the secret sauce in the Young Leaders recipe. By giving a grounding in personal leadership students are ready to step into an elected student role with confidence.


4. Young Leaders learn to speak with confidence rather than mumble their way through presentations


If you ever crossed your fingers and your toes in hope as your school captain gives their first speech in public then you’ll know how important presentations skills are for a school leader.

In fact, speaking in front of others is the stand out skill that amplifies a leaders propensity to influence others. Former US President Barack Obama’s oracy was supreme, which in no small part lead to election and re election.

While no one expects a primary school student to wax lyrical in front of a group in the manner of Obama, it’s reasonable that a student leader be able to deliver a short presentation without reading the whole speech, shuffling their feet or eying off their toes while doing so.

The Young Leaders Program teaches all students in Gr. 5 and 6 a full-proof method of creating a speech that can be used in any situation for any purpose. Our speech format another signature Young Leaders feature.


5. Three programs in one package


Most leadership programs in schools are either social and emotional programs that give a nod to leadership or one-off short-term programs solely for elected or selected leaders.

The Young Leaders Program lays a solid leadership foundation in each of the last two years of primary school before introducing the third element – the Induction and mentoring program for elected and selected leaders.

It is the comprehensive nature of Young Leaders that is so impactful on student culture.


6. The mentoring is transformative. 


Yes, role modelling is important.

Yes, student leaders are role models.

Yes, student leaders need role models.

Yes, yes, yes, mentoring builds on role modelling to accelerate student leadership development. The mentoring framework, that’s incorporated in Part 3, Mentoring and Induction is easy to teach, simple to follow and supports young leaders through the challenges they face.


7. Pitch perfect age for leadership development


Developmentally, ten and eleven are the ideal ages to develop leadership. It is at this stage when children are trying to work out what they can do and who they are, before the onset of puberty, which throws a spanner in the developmental works.

When I discuss student leadership with colleagues, they invariably think of secondary school students because that’s where the leadership focus has been for decades. It’s time to re invent how leadership is done in schools.

Sadly, we are missing a massive opportunity if we don’t fully develop the leadership potential in students right at a time when they are prime for leadership.


Where is your school on its student leadership journey?


Fortunately, schools are doing wonderful things in the student leadership space.

The notion of student voice is gaining strong momentum and the use of buddy programs has been a great starting point for student leadership development.

The types of activities that I see student leaders tackle in primary schools is also growing with many students taking over organisational roles once the domain of parents and teachers.  Recently I saw student leaders organise a school-wide pet show with permission slips, prizes, pet poo and the like care of.

The Young Leaders Program provides a solid foundation for leadership development so that teachers don’t have to reinvent the leadership wheel.

Most-importantly, it takes minimum classroom time to implement as most of the real leadership development is incidental once the foundations have been laid.


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