Leadership and Service

Leadership Principles and Streams (Overview)

Our understanding of leadership has shifted. Today's leaders require more global understanding, emotional intelligence, cooperative ability and an empowering, rather than overpowering, approach. Every student at SMUS is a leader and is involved in the leadership program.

We believe that leadership is a process of engagement that moves people to understanding and action in an environment inspired by trust. Every student at SMUS is a leader and is involved in the leadership program. From Kindergarten to Grade 12 there are opportunities for each student to explore and experience their potential as leaders in an age-appropriate way.

The Five Streams of Leadership

Effective leadership requires a complex set of skills, knowledge and values. With this in mind, our school has developed a multifaceted approach to leadership education. Our program includes five interdependent streams: principles of leadership, service, sustainability, global responsibility and experiential/outdoor education.

Character development is an important aspect of our leadership program and the key focus of the principles of leadership stream. Our school-wide principles are grounded in what we call the pillars:

  • Service
  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Courage

In addition to the pillars, the Junior School uses the Virtues Project extensively in its quest to create a positive, caring and empowering culture in which children can learn and grow. Focusing on a particular virtue each month, we weave the language of virtues into daily life, assemblies and Chapel, and our teachers embrace the opportunity to integrate ideas of character into their lessons.

By Grade 5, our students are taking on significant leadership responsibilities within the school and are involved in creating fun experiences for the children of the school while helping others in our community. We also ask them to speak about their ideas of leadership in a special leadership assembly.

The service program at the Junior School involves every child in the school and is an important part of the children’s learning. Students experience a service learning curriculum that is connected to the other streams of the Junior School leadership program (sustainability and the principles of leadership).

The Junior School organizes many service projects each term and these are organized through the Service Club, which meets regularly. The school is involved in many service projects to help local organizations as well as those further afield. There is an attempt to balance the needs of our local community with a greater global understanding.

The Junior School supports many organizations and initiatives, including:

At the Junior School, we incorporate many forms of experiential learning and outdoor exploration into our everyday life. In the classroom, students build models, do crafts, re-enact the rituals of historic cultures, and engage with their topics of study in a myriad of active ways. The school often brings in special guests to lead students in activities related to the guest's field of expertise.

Field trips are a huge part of Junior School life. Our students visit historical parks, local nature conservation areas, and astronomical observatories. Bringing students out of the classroom engages them in their studies, gives them a chance to demonstrate their knowledge, and helps them connect the topic of study to the real world.

Sustainability overview

Sustainability allows students to practice leadership by:

  • educating others about environmental issues and solutions;
  • spearheading initiatives at our school and in our community; and
  • creating collaborative teams and prioritizing goals.

The Junior School's student-led Sustainability committee meets regularly to learn more about how we can all make positive change.  Recent initiatives have included the development of a composting and recycling program at the school. The children run the program as well as in educate others in the school about the importance of being good to our earth. The Sustainability committee also organizes guest speakers and special projects. They are a positive force for change within the Junior School.

Leadership: Junior Global Responsibility

Although the Global Responsibility stream is not a major focus at the junior level, many of our service activities give our young students a taste of the wider world and a sense of their connection to others in that world. By working with international charities such as WorldVision, students learn about the issues facing children in different parts of the world and they learn that even through small actions, they can make the world a better place.

In the past, students have exchanged letters with peers in different countries, assembled packages for Senior students to deliver to orphans in the Dominican Republic, and collected food for families in need.