Building Student Leadership through PHE & Service Learning – Experiences of Stratford Hall School, Vancouver
Bobby Nishi
4 min read
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Service as Action Proposal Template
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Given it’s urban location, and proximity to public transportation, Stratford Hall – an independent IB school nestled in the heart of Vancouver – has always been able to offer many meaningful opportunities for community service to it’s students within a few minutes’ travel from the school.

For a long time we relied on outdoor projects, like beach clean-ups, or removing ivy (an invasive plant species) from local parks. Those spaces accessible at any time of the school day, were large enough for an entire class of students, and made for manageable supervision of the whole group with one or two teachers. It wasn’t long, however, before the teachers and students wanted to widen the range of service learning opportunities.

Students removing invasive plant species from a local park

Since our PHE programme includes an Outdoor and Experiential Education (OEE) component, we tried building in the development of leadership skills into that programme as a way to provide additional service learning experiences in the school day. For example, during regular PHE and OEE classes, students worked together – with the support of the teacher – to plan events like the PYP Sports Day, Jump Rope for Heart, and the Stratford Hall Track Meet. Through these experiences, students developed valuable leadership skills, whilst also honing their Learner Profile attributes. With the Sports Day, for example, students learnt important organisation skills that are required to plan a large community event. In turn, as they lead younger students in the activities that they had planned, they modelled good leadership skills for the others to draw inspiration from.

Equipped with these skills, students were better prepared for other opportunities outside of the regular class time, but still within the school day. For example, a large number of students decided to join a School Council (Athletics, Spirit, Arts, Innovation and Academics, and Action / Wellness) where they can meet with other like minded schoolmates, to plan a variety of school events and bring publicity and recognition to their chosen area.

MYP students leading the PYP Sports Day

We also created student leadership positions for service through Sports and Outdoor activities. In the Senior School, students assumed the role of Grade Leaders, who helped build class spirit and plan activities and opportunities for the rest of their classes during our advisory times. Students also volunteered as School Ambassadors, giving visitors tours of the school, or helping out as student coaches for different sports teams.

Inspired by these Service Learning initiatives?
Use this template to help your students develop their own proposals.
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