Empowering the young to lead
I was looking at Learn to Lead - a programme for youngsters that takes engagement to a new level, so that from the very young upwards, people have responsibility and ownership and can run things for themselves.
The outcomes are transformational, individuals growing in confidence, self-esteem and ownership, and the whole culture of an organisation changing to one where everyone is ‘doing’ rather than feeling 'done to’.
Learn to Lead was born out of a concern for the lack of opportunity for genuine student involvement in the life of school communities back in 2002. It was developed by two teachers and students from the Blue School, a state secondary school in Wells, Somerset. The programme was extended to other local schools, before catching the attention of the Children Schools and Families Select Committee who regarded it the best example of active citizenship in schools. A major independent evaluation by Cambridge University between 2008 and 2010 proved significant benefits, and the scheme has since grown organically and is now increasingly being applied in other settings such as young people and families, local communities, adult care, offenders, and health.
The impact of Learn to Lead in school communities has been as follows:
Individuals have a stronger sense of commitment to their learning and school
They acquire social, organisation and communication skills
They develop confidence and become more aware of their strengths and talents
Thay enjoy learning, develop a positive approach to challenges and are more willing to try new things and take risks
Schools enjoy more respectful, collaborative relationship with teachers and students and an improved school environment
Communities enjoy stronger relationships and engagement from the school and community members
Here are a couple of short videos about the programme:
All this caused me think about whether this could be powerful for children and youth groups in a church setting. 'Our church' - not 'church'. Given the impact of this programme, your children's work could be transformational in more ways than one. For example, what changes do the children want to see in the local community (as well as church)? How could they make these changes happen?
Why not get in touch with Learn to Lead and discuss how to use the material in your setting. You could also link resulting actions to some biblical themes as well.
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Geoff Knott, 17/01/2017