Cultivating Leadership Skills with Young Children

In Shorashim (‘roots’ for nursery) and Shteelim (‘saplings’ for Kindergarten), we have been working with a paradigm of leadership that connects to skills that the children are already starting to develop. That a leader is someone who works to make the would bette, using listening, partnership, courage and persistence.

One exploration that the children have been very excited about, is a community building game that we have been calling crossing the river. The premise of the game is that the group has to cross from one side of the room to the other, while staying inside a set of hoops for the entire crossing. In these photos you can see the children putting the some of the leadership skills (listening, partnership, courage and persistence) that we have been thinking about, into action.

This game can be challenging and requires a certain amount of bravery to rely on others to get across. The children also exhibited bravery in trying something brand new.

The children talked and listened to each other when they were figuring out who would stand in which hoops to best support crossing the river.

While the children were using the hoops to create a path, they needed to listen with their ears and eyes, not only to keep the hoops moving, but to make sure they were being safe. The children worked on giving each other enough room when they needed to stand inside the same hoop, together and also made sure that the hoops didn’t hit other children when they were passing them.
Sometimes being a partner meant coordinating with a child that was sharing your hoop. Maybe this meant turns passing the hoops, or maybe this meant passing the hoops together. Sometime it meant communicating with the child standing in front of you, letting them know that the next hoop is ready for them.
The children showed their persistence after deciding that they wanted to time themselves and see how quickly (and safely) they could cross together (they did so several times).

I can’t wait to see when else we can use our leadership skills.

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