Fern Hill teachers recognize that leadership development is an important part of growing up. When children are given the opportunity to learn how to lead, they become role models. Teachers provide many opportunities for their students to learn from each other. One of the ways we do this is by inspiring students to build public speaking and presentation skills from a young age by having them actively involved in teaching other children.
The Grade 8 students participate in a leadership program, which allows them to develop their leadership skills. The students plan and organize a series of workshops that are geared towards teaching children in younger grades important skills such as working together and being inclusive. The Grade 8s not only lead the younger children in the workshop, but encourage the children to ask questions and to comment on the lessons learned from the workshop. Among other things, these leadership opportunities teach our older students social responsibility.
By encouraging students to become leaders, students become educators themselves. Recently, students in Grade 6 took the initiative to create slideshow presentations about Ramadan and Climate Change. The Grade 6 students approached teachers to schedule a time when they could present their slideshows to the class. The Grade 6s shared their presentations and allowed the younger students to ask questions. The younger children feel comfortable asking questions because of their strong connection with students across grades. Because Fern Hill provides students with opportunities to take on leadership roles, their self-confidence grows.
After learning about endangered animals, the Grade 5 students created iMovies that explained the circumstances that lead to animals becoming endangered. They shared their iMovies with students in other grades and explained why animals are at risk and how humans can have a positive impact on animals and their habitats. Many of the younger children went home that day and shared what they learned with their families.
Students as young as Grade 1 and Grade 2 are also given the opportunity to share their knowledge with older students. The Grade 1s and 2s held a Social Studies fair where they presented projects they completed about community workers and countries to teachers and students in older grades. The Grade 1s and 2s stood proudly by their projects and spoke about what they learned. The older students listened patiently, asked questions, and applauded the younger students. By providing these opportunities for students to learn from each other, the younger students also develop confidence in their abilities in a safe, caring environment.
Reading Buddy programs encourage students in older grades to read with children in younger grades. The older students often share reading strategies they have learned with their younger buddy to help them decode unfamiliar words. The younger buddies in SK are now reading to their older buddies! During Math Buddy time, students in older grades help children in JK and SK with their counting, number recognition, and simple addition and subtraction. The younger children love engaging with the older children and the older children are rewarded with appreciative smiles and hugs, and the knowledge that they helped a younger child.
Fern Hill teachers are proud of their brave, bright, knowledgeable students. By learning from each other, and teaching each other, students become self-directed, confident leaders, who use their knowledge to teach others and become valued members of the Fern Hill community.