Building community through LEAP

Developing leadership skills is one way we cultivate character and empower engagement for our students at CDNIS. When students exert leadership they gain self confidence, personal agency and a sense of accomplishment. While some may think this is an Upper School domain, we are very purposeful to encourage leadership in the Lower School as well. Ranging from formal to informal, and within and beyond the classroom programme, examples include:

  • Lower School Student Council
  • Student Led Learning Reviews
  • screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-6-54-04-pmFacilitating classroom morning meetings
  • JUMP! And LEAP student leadership workshops  
  • Clubs (Roots&Shoots, Green Thumb) and Athletics Program

Student leaders build community, making our school a better place and creating the foundation for even greater contribution as the kids grow older. While there are “natural leaders” who generate positive impact easily and by habit, there are attributes, behaviors and core leadership capacities that all kids can learn and develop over time such as:


  • Clear communication skills
  • Ability to engage and include others
  • Good time management and organization
  • Commitment and a sense of vision
  • Empathy and interest in serving others


Last year we brought in the JUMP! Foundation who ran a team-building event for students in Grades 4-6. This year our Coordinators of Local and Global Engagement and LS Student Council teacher reps developed LEAP (Leadership Education and Action Planning), bringing 30 students together with our House-affiliated NGOs to learn about various leadership styles (the Organizer, the Visionary, the Doer, the Connector), to develop self-awareness of themselves as leaders, and to develop practical action plans for community-building events that will take place in support of our NGOs this spring.

The kids engaged with interest and enthusiasm, keen to learn and generate a positive difference in our school.  Day 1 focused on leadership education and learning about our NGOs and the issues they target. Day 2 was action planning, with the kids in each House now well aligned to work as a team and lead an activity of their own design. Both days involved delicious lunch and healthy snacks! We have a poster contest to look forward to, simulation games, in-class sessions about single-use plastic, and more. The energy and tone of the 2 days can be seen on this short slideshow:

Much of the learning is yet to come, as the kids work to refine and execute their plans. But much of what we know about rich learning is in place from the LEAP event; this work is collaborative, student-driven, connected to the real world and meaningful. Thanks to Ms Cheung, Ms Costner, Ms Heinrich, Ms Glazier, Ms Safaya and Ms Campbell for organizing.  The students will grow and learn a great deal, and our whole school will benefit from their leadership contributions!


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