I have the privilege at the moment of being part of the Education Through Music Summer Colloquium. There are a multitude of reasons why this is a wonderful thing, and I have blogged about ETM before. Today I was struck by something in a new way.
We want our children to be positive leaders. We want them to adopt and embody strong, positive qualities, and we want them to be the kind of people that lead through good example. We often try to make this happen by having children practice at being leaders. The idea makes sense on the surface – practice makes perfect, right? The problem lies in that our children do not have a clear image of what they are practicing – at least in early childhood.
Young children, and all children, need to have strong models. They need to see positive leaders, experiencing what it feels like to be in a place that is well led. Far too often we push the onus on to children too quickly to take on these roles, without first ensuring that they have a rich, deep experience with positive leadership.
So, as teachers of young children, it must first be our job to BE the person we want our children to become. We must be strong leaders, ethical leaders, empathetic leaders, and hopeful leaders to show our children what that looks like, and how to do it. And we must be careful not to turn over the reins too quickly.
Check out the Hero Deck as another resource for teaching children about leadership through studying models. It is a great way to help children look to mentors to guide them.