Lower School Implements Young Global Leaders

Lower School teachers are planning a program where all fourth graders will participate in an initiative centered on integrating the Lower School

Drawing inspiration from the Upper School Student Diversity Board after visiting one of its forums, Racism 2.0 on Nov. 21, Lower School teach­er Tresa Wilson created the Young Global Leaders initia­tive and currently focuses on advancing the initiative in the spring.

The initiative engages all fourth grade students in age appropriate experiences and encourages them to ask ques­tions and seek answers about various global communities.

After Wilson attended the forum, she was able to step back and look at her fourth graders.

“When I teach about a cer­tain multicultural novel…I see how the [students] want more. I see how they want to ask the questions deeper into the top­ic, but I have to stop.” Wilson said. “I need to give them an outlet to ask those questions, to wonder why.”

Not only will Young Glob­al Leaders give the students such an outlet, but it also will provide them with the opportunity for leader­ship in supporting the school’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Under Wilson’s su­pervision, the fourth graders will lead the initiative in addressing issues primarily deal­ing with friendship.

“A lot of these girls have been together since Pre-K, and so, they’ve had that same connection, that same relationship,” Wil­son said. She hopes girls will branch out to build new relation­ships as they move forward into Middle School.

Throughout the school year, Wilson will meet with groups of fourth graders to dis­cuss issues significant to the cul­ture and community of Lower School. The girls will implement three types of pro­grams organized for the Lower School: Mix- It-Up Day, Structured Play and Act-It-Out.

Wilson hopes through these pro­grams the girls will learn that “It’s okay to be all different. Yes, we are all the same in some amazing way, but those differences are just as important as those similarities.”

The opinions that Lower School girls develop about one another and about di­versity issues are of­ten merely reflections of those of their parents.

Katie Mimini, a junior representative on the Student Diversity Board, said the initia­tive will influence students to be open to different perspec­tives early on. “That way, they would not be stuck to the one their parents have,” she said.

Young Global Leaders is similar to the Student Diversity Board in its focus on integrat­ing the community.

Upper School history teacher Steve Spencer, a spon­sor for the board, said each year more students have applied to be grade representatives on the board. The increase in the number of applicants, with the creation of Young Global Lead­ers, reveals a budding interest in diversity issues.

However, while mainly students will drive the board, Wilson will direct Young Global Leaders to ensure that the topics discussed are age appropriate.

The two groups will also differ in their scopes of poten­tial participants. While spon­sors assign positions on the Student Diversity Board from an open group of interested Upper School students, this initiative will include only fourth graders.

This characteristic stems from Wilson’s hope to spark girls’ interest in the Middle School Kids Stand Up elec­tive and the Student Diver­sity Board, which all share the same goal to raise awareness of various issues. Wilson wishes all three groups will meet and discuss various issues, which she says will give the girls tools to learn to accept others.

“The world is changing,” Wilson said, “And the more prepared the child is, the more successful I feel she will be in the future.”

– Catherine Jiang