This conference is held around Australia each year for student leaders. Our eight Pembroke Junior School House Captains joined nearly 1,000 primary school leaders from all corners of South Australia at the Entertainment Centre on 8 March. The team of five young GRIP leaders took the students through a series of sessions, many of which were interactive.
This year there were four main focus themes:
• Growing as a leader
• Bye Bye Bullying
• Influencing the people around us
• Developing a leadership plan using traffic lights.
The analogy of a tree was used to explain how they can grow as leaders. The roots represent their core values. The presenters shared the values behind GRIP: G for Generosity, R for Responsibility, I for Integrity and P for People. The trunk symbolises working together, which reminded us of the Pembroke motto: ‘Out of Unity Strength’. Synergise (teamwork) is also one of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits, which these students studied in Year 5 in preparation for leadership roles in Year 6. The leaves and branches symbolise (e.g. shade, wood, fruit) how we can contribute to what is around us and help others. The last element is water for the tree, which needs constant input to grow—as leaders we never stop learning and looking for ways to improve.
Unfriendly behaviours that may develop into bullying of an individual is something that is brought up in frequent discussions at School. Student leaders were encouraged to consider how they, as role models, can make a difference using three steps:
1. Spot it out—sometimes bullying is not obvious but leaders can watch out for those in need of help.
2. Speak out—start a campaign to raise awareness and build strategies.
3. Stamp it out—hopefully an outcome from steps 1 and 2.
The students looked at four groups of people that they can influence in a positive way:
• younger students
• students in their own year level at School
• their teachers
• the wider community.
Individually students considered how they might do this themselves and then they mingled with students from other schools and chatted about how they thought they might do it in their situation. Random acts of kindness was one example, along with the quote ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’.
Finally, traffic lights were used to help guide students through an approach to creating a plan for leadership. The green light (moving forward) encourages them to think of new ideas they’d like to trial or implement. The amber light (slowing down) refers to things happening at school that are going well and perhaps need less attention now. The red light (stop) signifies things they see that need to be stopped or changed.
Students reflected on why they enjoy being a leader and how they hope to grow in their leadership skills. As follow-up activities, the House Captains will present a brief report at our Junior School Assembly and they will also do some activities from the conference with their peers to share the learning.
Assistant Head of Junior School
(To preview photo gallery, please click on a photo below).