Building confidence and leadership skills in your elementary school students is just as important as teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic. Whether you’re showing students those skills by example, using lessons, or encouraging them or rewarding them, it all results in strong, young leaders. Implement the following ideas in your elementary school to develop leadership skills in all students.
Put students in charge.
Choose a student to lead a discussion about “what leadership is” or another topic. This can be done on a weekly or bi-weekly schedule, and it doesn’t have be a long. Put a 15-20 minute time limit on it. Some kids may shy from the spotlight, but this is a good way to have them come out of their shell, lead, and manage the discussion. Designate each student leader with a special Button or Medallion.
Share your definition of leadership with your students.
Before you begin that first discussion, share your personal definition of leadership. It will not only pique your students’ interests, it’s a great jumping off point for any classroom discussion or group project.
Provide tangible examples of leadership in your classroom.
Leadership is a wonderful topic for your classroom bulletin board or white board. You can also post pictures of music, movie, or sports stars who help a good cause on the walls. Or post newspaper articles about local leaders.
These lessons may already be a part of your elementary school curriculum, especially during a character unit. Reinforce these lessons with leadership and character awards like Pencils, Certificates, and Wristbands. You can also check out various leadership lessons and/or guides online.
Getting involved in your school.
Encourage all of your students to tryout for sports teams and/or join a club (art club, science club). If there are other activities and opportunities outside of school, mention them during class or take a field trip so students are aware of community involvement.
If your school has a service club, spread the word about it to motivate students to join. By helping out in your school or local community, students will experience how fulfilling it is help a good cause. Feeling good about themselves will boost their confidence, plus that kindness will have an effect on their leadership skills. Stock up on citizenship and service awards for fun incentives.
Give students more responsibilities.
Create a classroom chore list and assign something to every student. Having a routine and specific responsibilities helps develop their organizational and problem-solving skills.
Practice leadership with games and group projects.
Learning “basic” leadership skills, writing about them, and memorizing them is fantastic, but it’s important to put those skills to good use. There a variety of games and classroom group projects you can organize so everyone gets a chance to be the leader and demonstrate what they’ve learned.
Lessons, discussions, group projects, and volunteering are great building blocks for young leaders. It’s also important to reward those leadership skills. Stock up on a variety of awards–Lapel Pins, Pencils, Certificates, Dog Tags–to celebrate every step of the “leadership learning” process.
These are just some ideas to help you develop leadership skills in your elementary school students. Whether you use a few ideas, several, or all of them, your students will only benefit from them. Don’t forget to get parents or your PTA or PTO involved. They may have more ideas to add to this list.
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