The missing element in elementary school: Student Leadership

One thing that is clear in a typical elementary school is that the control, decisions and planning of events are completely adult driven, planned and executed.  The element of leadership is missing in elementary, but we see those same students become great leaders in middle or high school. The problem is we want students to be leaders of tomorrow, when the truth is we need them to be leaders today.  Lani Moore stated the following “we see students as they are and not what they will become”, as teachers we need to see the potential and push students to reach higher for their dreams.

Something has to change for student leadership to take a hold and that is for teachers and administrators to give up some of the control.  The school environment has to change to give the students the opportunity to want to be leaders.  We need a different approach and the voices/input from students could provide that for us.  Albert Einstein said “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”.  Having students involved in a meaningful way is becoming essential for schools today. Let us help our students through problem solving.  If the cafeteria is extremely messy after each lunch, ask your leadership students to come up with a solution.  It most likely will be much different than what we thought of and when they till each grade the idea, it will definately be implemented immediately.  Students will feel ownership and pride that they were able to help the school.

Simple ways students can be leaders immediately in your school:

  • Greeters
  • Tour-guides
  • Introduce speakers
  • Open car doors in the morning
  • Welcoming students with high fives in the morning
  • Classroom roles
  • Student ambassadors
  • Lunch helpers
  • Help organize events
  • Announcements
  • Students creating posters or commercials for school events

Allowing students to have a voice and choice within their own school is the best choice we can make.  The best part about it is that we can start implementing leadership roles immediately in our schools, it is not dependent on the new school year or different learning periods.  Leadership can start today!


Supporting Premise –

2.C. Learning standards should embrace development of the whole person to build students’ capacity to shape their own destiny as individuals and as contributing members of society



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