Leaders are made, not born. While some leadership skills come naturally to many children (ex: confidence, compassion), most of these skills must be taught and nurtured. Unfortunately, these skills are not always taught in public schools. At Brightside Academy we recognize this deficit and have incorporated activities into our daily curriculum to help develop leadership skills in all of our children.
Developing leadership skills is a life-long process that starts in infancy. We provide daily practice of these skills from our youngest learners through our school age children to help them develop and thrive as leaders.
Communication: We begin by teaching the children emotional and nonverbal communication. They learn to recognize emotion faces and as they become aware of the emotions, we teach them the words to describe them.
We also focus on social communication. This involves participating in conversations (both speaking and listening). We also incorporate activities that incorporate the communication skills needed to work in a group effectively.
Vision: A child who can see their outcome clearly is more likely to achieve their vision. This skill is taught through reading and listening to stories with memorable lessons and characters. We not only read the stories with the children, we discuss the characters and their choices. Leaders are readers!
Goals Setting and Reaching: As you look around our classrooms, you will see brainstorming activities, learning charts, and other planning activities. Activities such as these empower the children and help guide their learning. They help set goals and ultimately, help the children reach those goals. It also builds their self-esteem.
Confidence in Self and Others: By working in teams, the children learn collaboration and negotiation skills. They are able to work together to reach a goal, building confidence and celebrating success along the way.
Classroom jobs accomplish this on an individual basis. While our preschool and school age classrooms have assigned jobs, older infants and toddlers are encouraged to clean up their space. When the task is complete, their success is celebrated.
Persistence and Encouragement:Often, children are faced with obstacles when completing an activity. Our teachers encourage them to work through that obstacle, giving them problem-solving ideas. We celebrate the attempts they make. It is not always the end product we are looking for, but sometimes just the process of getting there.
Our teachers also provide a balance of activities. Not every activity is a challenge for every child. Allowing the children to be successful is often what is needed to give them the confidence to try a harder activity.
Decision Making: Our children are given many choices in the classroom. They are encouraged to explore, experiment and try new things. They are given the choice of their classroom job, the space they want to work at, the book choice for story time. These decision making opportunities are seen in every classroom, every day.
What can you do to develop these skills in your child? Begin by being a good role model. Teach your children to communicate in a calm, respectful way. Explain the choices you are making. Lead by example.
- As soon as they can, involve them in a team sport or other group activity. This will teach them collaboration and negotiation skills. It will also help them build their self-esteem and confidence.
- Allow the children to make decisions. Let them choose their outfit for the day or what the family should have for dinner. Giving children the opportunity to make decisions teaches them responsibility.
- Read…read…read. Talk about the characters and their choices as you read the story. Discuss how the story relates to you child or your family. Children from infancy through school age like to be read to. Spend 15-20 minutes a night reading together.
Today’s children are the leaders of tomorrow. Brightside Academy is excited to help them develop their leadership skills to see where they will take us in the future!