FitKids– Cultivating Leadership in All learners…

Chimney Hill is a K-7 school with a student population of 695, of whom 91 are in grade 7.

Through a series of initiatives, considerable collaboration time and ongoing dialogue the grade 7 students do what all of us want them to do – be effective leaders and set a positive tone for the rest of the school. The key to the success of our initiatives is engagement. These students come to school eager to learn and eager to lead. This does not happen by chance. These are many initiatives our grade 7 teachers have designed to develop the Core Competency of social responsibility. Some examples are:

Fit KidsAll 91 of our students participate as Fit Kid Leaders. We have 6 sessions a year. While students have a choice of participating, they all choose to partake. All students, k-6 go to the gym and rotate through Fit Kid stations. Therefore all our grade 7 students interact with every k-6 student.  During these six sessions, classroom teachers are freed to do grade level collaborative planning.

Other Initiatives

  • All grade 7 students volunteer at the Surrey Food Bank once a year.
  • Our Sports’ Team (basketball) in particular are inclusive of any grade student wanting to play. We have 5 staff members coaching basketball and two boys and two girls teams. Last year we had 60% of our grade students playing.
  • All our grade 7 students participate in buddy classes, learning together with and through technology, enhancing literacy and numeracy skills, deepening creative thinking and project based learning.

There are many other events for our students. The effect of all these initiatives is three fold:

  • A feeling of inclusiveness, ownership and engagement.

Our grade 7 students make Chimney Hill a special place for all groups: students, staff, and parents. We are proud of them.

In closing, here are some student reflections on their Fit Kids leadership experiences:

“Hello everybody. My friends and I are proud to be Fit Kids leaders and executive members of the student council. Please allow us to share with you a few stories about how being a leader at Chimney Hill has changed our lives.

  • Leading student council and Fit Kids has taught me how to be adaptable to the needs of different children. One Fit Kids station can be run many different ways. The key is to give every child a chance at success. One girl may be ready to lead the group all on her own. One boy may need me to hold his hand and guide him. I am proud to say that now I am giving much more attention to children who are suffering from different illnesses. Leadership has helped me to discover my own strengths and I can’t wait to use these strengths I have developed in the future!
  • Being in student council has taught me to never stop trying to reach my goals. Every year I tried harder and harder to get into student council but someone was always chosen over me. I started to believe I wasn’t capable of doing it. But this year I developed new skills as a Fit Kids leader and guess what happened! I used to be that shy girl that only hangs out with a few friends. Fast forward two years and now I am friends with everybody. My thinking has changed and I now see myself as a proud, confident and accomplished young woman.
  • Leadership has taught me to persevere and to believe in myself. I used to be afraid of public speaking challenges like this one. But my confidence has built over the years. Leading walk to school and Fit Kids really helped. Running an election campaign and speaking out at student council meetings helped even more. Now look at me. I am able to tell my story in front of all of you! My self-talk has changed as well. Where I used to tell myself “you don’t have a chance,” now I tell myself “you are the best you can be and that’s all someone can ask. So bring it on!”
  • Two years ago, I would be uptight and racing through a presentation. I would have pages and pages of things to say and I would speak so quickly that nobody could process what I was saying. Today I think differently and I communicate differently. I zero in on the most important ideas. I am comfortable thinking outside of the box. I slow down and relax when I present the minutes of our meetings. I have even developed a sense of humor, which brightens my mood, and everyone else’s too. This inspiring program has made me a more adaptable, creative and confident person.
  • 2 years ago, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness called Lupus. I felt alone – an outcast who couldn’t match my classmates’ abilities, especially partake in P.E.  The opportunity to be a part of Leadership made me feel normal again, not the girl with monthly appointments, and that’s all I ever wished for since. Leadership is the one thing I know I could continue to participate in if I ever have a flare up. I can be me without Lupus holding me back. I may be returning to the hospital tomorrow but I feel empowered by occasions such as this. Thank you for enabling us to share our experiences with all of you.”

For more information about the FitKids program, contact Chris Baldry, Principal of Chimney Hill Elementary.

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