“The idea is to get the older kids to help the younger kids with play activities out at recess,” said teacher Therese Gerow.
On Thursday they led their first series of games in the gym.
“They’re going to start going out on the playground next week,” she said.
The group of Grade 5 students will lead all the activities.
“They were invited earlier in the fall to attend a workshop for the program Take the Lead,” Gerow said.
“The older students plan, they decide what games they want to play.”
“The goal of the program is just to help kids to learn how to play well together and to hopefully cut down on some of the conflict on the playground, maybe cut down on the bullying. If the kids are busy, they are usually happy,” Gerow said.
The Lakeland District for Sport Culture and Recreation introduced the initiative to the school, Gerow said.
It consists of a full day of training for young leaders.
While for the school the intent may be more about playing nice together, for the creators, Lakeland District for Sport Culture and Recreation and the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region, it is largely about getting kids physically active and giving them leadership opportunities at a younger age.
Their main motivator is the belief that our young children do not get enough exercise or opportunities for young leadership.
They provide training for the older students, so that they have the skills to initiate games and play with young students.
The day of training covered things like leadership, teamwork, co-operation, communication, fair play, conflict resolution, organization and planning, safety awareness, physical activity ideas or games, as well as help planning.
St. Michael’s is one of several schools participating in the Take the Lead program. They all received activity packages and bags filled with equipment, like hula-hoops, rubber chickens, balls and more.
“There will be a follow-up workshop in the spring just to see how things are and to provide more training with the leadership because it is important that the kids have skills to go out and be able to communicate with the little ones … and to have leaderships skills,” she said.
Darren Laviolette and Jolice Jenkins took a moment to reflect on what they have learned and why they enjoy what they are doing.
“I like to see all the joy the little kids get to have,” Darren Laviolette said. -
This is the first leadership experience either of them have had but they both they will continue doing leadership work.
“It was nice to learn how to participate with the kids, what we are gonna do with them and talking about if they get bored, we switch the games. We come up with different ideas with hula-hoops, all sorts of equipment and we come up with games,” Laviolette said.
For him it is about the kids.
“I like to see all the joy the little kids get to have,” he said.
Jenkins seems to enjoy the leadership opportunity.
“I think it’s fun, because you get to show kids your own (planning and the) work that you did,” Jenkins said.
She doesn’t mind a little more responsibility.
“I think it’s interesting because it makes me feel like a grown-up.”
In the spring, students from St. Michael’s will join all the other young leaders from the city for another day of training and reflection on what they have learned since they brought their new-found skills back to school.