"Since doing the Young Leaders Award, I have learnt that every small action can make a big difference to others' lives. My role is important in our community just as much as everyone else’s."
KS1 Pupil - Staindrop C E Primary School
In 2019 we launched our Key Stage 1 Young Leaders Award which has to date been completed by over 8,600 pupils aged 5-7 years.
We believe that giving younger pupils meaningful opportunities to explore leadership skills and character virtues and to get involved in social action early in life is key to developing young people who show confidence, resilience and care for others.
Research from ‘The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues’ at the University of Birmingham, has shown that children who get involved in social action before they are 10 are more than twice as likely to develop a habit of volunteering and social action as they grow up.
A report entitled ‘Our Charitable Children’, from the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University, highlighted that although many schools involve their youngest pupils in charitable activities, such as fundraising, that often pupils have little understanding of why or even what the cause is they are giving to. Their experiences of giving are largely passive.
“We see a real power in engaging children in charitable giving, not to tell children where or what to give, but giving them the tools and support to ask and explore giving decisions themselves and the reasons behind the cause areas.”
The KS1 Young Leaders Award involves children in the process not just in an event. It allows them to engage with needs and causes around them, to be involved in decision making, and to take action to help their communities.
The Award explores the theme of ‘small steps big changes’ through the characteristics of kindness, perseverance, teamwork and action. Pupils take part in interactive activities and challenges to learn about these leadership characteristics and to help others around them, at home, in school and in their local community.
We have been so impressed with the stories of thoughtful and impactful social action projects that our KS1 Young Leaders have chosen and carried out, especially during the pandemic. We have seen pupils support homeless charities and Foodbanks, reach out to elderly residents in their area and take action to care for the environment.
Given these opportunities KS1 pupils can really flourish in their leadership skills and character and gain valuable experiences that are often overlooked for their age group.
One KS1 teacher reflected that through taking part in the YLA her pupils were
“becoming kind, caring and concerned citizens of the future.”
This is our hope; to empower young people from an early age to ‘be the change they want to see’.
“Taking action makes you feel proud because you know you're doing something for the community.”
"You don't just do kindness to get something. You do it to have fun. It gives me a proud feeling."
“I like the award because it has helped me to think about how I can be a better team member.”
Find out more about the KS1 YLA here: www.abyyt.com/keystage1 or contact PrimaryYLA@abyyt.com
The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues Research - here
'Our Charitable Children' - here