As parents, we want the best for our children when it comes to their education. We want them to attend quality schools and universities, get a good degree, and have as many opportunities open to them as possible. With today’s increasingly rapid changes in technology and the job market, schools are recognising more and more the importance of developing students’ social and personal success over and above the academic.
The development of the whole child, including social-emotional learning and leadership skills, helps to fully prepare them for the world of tomorrow, whatever it will bring. But what can we do to help them achieve that? Tunji David Lees, Head of Student Development at Swiss Leadership Camp & Academy shares steps you can take at home, events in Dubai, summer camps in Switzerland and school programmes that every child can benefit from.
The benefits of a well-rounded education
When searching for schools, look beyond just their academic strengths. Ask yourself whether the school offers students a truly rounded education.
For example, the IB curriculum includes Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) as a core component of their diploma programme, whereby students should have two CAS activities for each category in which they participate on a weekly basis. Around 80% of IB students say that as a result of participating in CAS they have developed better interpersonal skills, self-awareness, empathy, planning skills, and have learned to persevere and take on new challenges. These so-called “soft skills” are all important elements of leadership development.
Many top school have innovative initiatives, such as Nord Anglia’s Global Campus which helps inspire innovation, collaboration and leadership in their students.
There are similar components of non-formal learning in the British curricula, with many schools placing an increasing emphasis on learning beyond the classroom through extra-curricular activities and industry related experiences.
Student leadership programmes at school
It is also important to be fully informed about the student leadership programmes your child’s school might have. This could mean being a student leader, part of the school’s student council, participating in the Model United Nations, a SILC Student Leadership conference or other similar school programmes.
Some students might not feel confident in joining such a scheme, feeling that they don’t have the right skill sets. However, part of being a good leader is being aware of what you don’t know and being willing to learn. Admitting what you don’t know and having a growth mindset can open many doors. The best leaders after all, acknowledge that learning is a lifelong endeavour.
Read more about the upcoming SILC Student Leadership conference in Dubai this March here.
Music or dance lessons, football or volleyball clubs, boy or girl scouts are but a few among the huge variety of after-school activities available to students these days. Getting involved in an extra-curricular activity is great way to help young people boost their self-esteem and self-confidence while learning and improving important life skills such as goal setting, time management, decision making, teamwork and conflict resolution; all important leadership skills.
Time allowing, it is beneficial for children to be involved in several extra-curricular activities.
Giving responsibility at home
In order to become good leaders, we must first learn to take responsibility for ourselves. Giving your child the opportunity to be responsible and take decisions can be a valuable learning experience. This can be getting them to plan and manage their own free time constructively, or getting them more involved in household chores that relate to them.
Things such as having your teenager take care of their own laundry, or cooking once or twice a week for the family can be great way for young people to learn independence and responsibility. Before delegating tasks however, it’s important to involve your child in the decision making process to minimise any resentment from their side. Sit down together as a family and see if you can come up with ideas together.
Your child might not be too happy about having extra chores around the house, but in the long run they will realise the value of it.
Student leadership training
Everyone is different, some people are born leaders, others are less confident or experienced. Something everyone can benefit from however, is leadership training focused on tapping into their individual potential and strengths. Through these sort of programmes students face challenges, improve teamwork, build on interpersonal relationships and learn to step up and take responsibility for themselves, preparing them for success in the challenging and interconnected world of the 21st century.
Here are some examples of such programmes from the SILC Swiss Leadership Camp and Academy, which are open to all students age 11 to 17:
Swiss International Leadership Camp & Academy
We are a premier Student Leadership organisation with more than 10 years of experience in the education industry. Based in Switzerland, we work with students from the world’s most prestigious schools around the world and unlock their potential with our school workshops, school camps as well as two week summer camps and one day conferences open for all students. Our programmes are specially designed using our SILC curricular framework to combine outdoor activities and fun games alongside training sessions and personal evaluations, and has proven to be a powerful tool for developing student learning and leadership skills.