Fifth grader Saniya became a junior coach and used her new leadership skills for good

Fifth grader Saniya knows how to take charge. She is confident, successful and loved by her peers. Saniya could easily be labeled bossy, but instead the adults and students at James J. Chittick Elementary School in Mattapan, MA call Saniya and others like her a leader.

Here is Saniya’s story as told by Coach Kate Fiori:

When you see Saniya walking around school, she beams leader. Saniya is one of my most involved junior coaches at Chittick Elementary. She does everything from playing an instrument to being the lead, Dorothy, in the school musical The Wizard of Oz.

When Saniya comes out to the playground to work as a junior coach during recess, I know that the students will respect her and listen to her. She does an excellent job of getting students to listen by using fun attention getters that I taught the junior coaches. I often step back at recess as she leads the other students in a introduction, transitioning students from the classroom to the playground.

On Mondays, I help out with the musical after school. The director often needs someone to keep the students occupied who are not in the scenes that are being performed so I offered to step in and play games with them.

At the start of a recent rehearsal, the director and I were moving extra chairs and furniture off of the stage, when I heard someone doing attention getters behind me. It was none other than Saniya. She was using skills that she had learned from junior coaching to get the attention of 38 students so that rehearsal could start on time.

Saniya embodies what it means to be a leader, and I am excited to see her grow even more as the year continues.

While in some places this degree of initiative by a girl might be labelled as bossy, at Playworks we honor and embrace it as leadership, and a skill that our girls need to master in order to navigate challenges in school and someday in the workplace.

How do you encourage students to be leaders?



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