Practising Leadership

Imagine Create InspireEvery Friday we have a school-wide assembly. Here’s how a recent one unfolded:

  1. Three grade 8s presented their regular ‘Save that Species’ game show/skit to promote awareness of endangered species.
  2. Three other grade 8s announced the conclusion of their successful Winter Coat Drive, thanking the KCS community for donating 101 coats to families in need.
  3. Another five grade 8s came to lead our weekly ‘Compliment Friday’, inviting students in grades 1-4 to come up and give a public compliment to anyone they felt made a difference over the holidays.
  4. Four girls in grade 6 reminded the community of their Poster-to-Canvas contest, with submissions due early February.
  5. A group of House Captains from grades 7 and 8 announced the upcoming House lunches.
  6. About thirty students from grades 1-8 came forward to present the ‘brick’ they earned for our Wall of Service. Each brick represents an initiative that makes a positive difference, and included acts such as running in marathons for charity, donating birthday money, distributing food to families in need over the holidays and many, many more.

And these represent a mere fraction of the leadership projects that are currently underway.

Practice makes perfect. The world could use more perfect leaders, or at least great ones, so KCS is working on it.

How do we do it?

First, we’ve taken the mystery out of great leadership. Every student at KCS knows the traits that lead to not only personal success but also a meaningful life that makes a positive difference. The KCS Habits of Mind, Body and Action are the undeniable, timeless attributes that make one a leader in all aspects of life.

Second, we’ve made leadership accessible to all. Leadership isn’t reserved for our oldest students, nor to students winning elections, or to students arbitrarily chosen by others. Leadership opportunities are as infinite as the imaginations of each student. If they can dream it, and we can help them make it happen, it can be pursued. We also make it clear that leadership is not always a big and bold undertaking – it can be as small and impactful as facing a daunting personal challenge, standing up to others doing something wrong or helping someone when they’re hurt.

Third, we’ve made it imperative. We don’t see leadership as optional in life – it’s as important as the academic skills that underlie any undertaking. Leadership is practiced in smaller ways among our youngest students, unless individuals choose to pursue a more substantial leadership project. By grade 6 it’s a timetabled subject and all students are given the time and guidance to imagine and deliver on an idea that makes a difference. Many choose to support groups in need, others choose to provide exciting new offerings to their schoolmates, such as contests and talent shows.

Our students have unparalleled opportunities to practice leadership. We know that the world would be a better place if all children went to a school that unleashed the leadership within, and we hope that one day this will come to be. In that way, KCS is practising leadership too. After all, it’s true what they say, practice does make perfect.

Andrea Fanjoy,
Assistant Head, Academics
You can follow Andrea on Twitter @afanjoy.

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