group of elementary school students smiling with their arms around eachother's shoulders.

Leadership is a life-long skill that can be transformative, and believe it or not, it can be taught and learned from the earliest age. When you believe in the perspective that everyone is born to be a leader, in one way or another, it can set the stage for success right from the beginning.

In the classroom, there are many opportunities to teach leadership and for children to exhibit their leadership skills. Like most concepts and skills, leadership takes time and practice to develop. In this way, as in so many other aspects, teachers are among the most instrumental and influential people in their students’ lives.

While this may sound somewhat overwhelming, there are actually endless ways to bring the concept of leadership to life for students that are fun and meaningful. And once you get started, you may find that a leadership culture and mindset is contagious, with your students eager to show how they can be among the best leaders too. 

7 Fun Lessons to Teach Leadership in the Classroom

Let your students and your individual environment be your guide for what would work best in your classroom, but here are some fun ideas for incorporating teaching leadership in the classroom:

1. Line Leader
Especially fun for younger students, being line leader is an honor they look forward to fulfilling every chance they get. When students achieve a high grade, are “caught” doing something good, or perhaps it’s their birthday that week, bestowing the leadership position of line leader is an excellent way to recognize them as leaders amongst their peers. The designated line leader for the week can proudly guide and lead their classmates to lunch, gym, music class, the library or even as they line up on the playground after recess.

2. Teacher for a Day
How much more fun could it be for a student than to get to serve as teacher for the day! Kids will relish the opportunity to act as leader and be “in charge” of the class. This special privilege may be earned through consistently exemplary behavior or maybe you host a drawing once a month to see who is picked to fill the role. Either way, it’s a great way to teach kids about leadership – and leading by example. As you work with the student in advance to prepare for their big day, this lends itself to plenty of teachable moments about what it takes to be a great leader and the responsibility that accompanies it.

3. Role Play
A fun lesson plan in the classroom could be to teach about memorable leaders throughout history and then have discussions with your students about who among those are their favorites. The lesson could be further extended by having students write an essay about why they picked those leaders as their favorites, culminating with a dress-up day where students come to school dressed “in character.” Spend the day having kids share their essays with the class and talk about what makes these representatives such excellent examples of leadership.

4. Read All About It
Reading a great book about leaders and those who exhibit qualities of leadership can be another wonderful way to bring the concept to life. Depending on the lessons you are covering, you might select a list of designated people or even specific books that fit the material the class is studying, and then let the students choose who to read about or which book they’d like to read from your predetermined set. Then, have them prepare a book report and randomly choose an assortment from which to discuss with the class.

5. Class Elections
Student government is a classic example of leadership. Determine which leadership roles should be created for the classroom and have students help with all the details involved in preparing for an election. Candidates can campaign with presentations, speeches or election posters. The class can even host a friendly debate or two for the candidates prior to the big day. Everyone can get involved with holding the election and then once the positions are chosen, other classmates can serve as cabinet or committee members to offer an opportunity for everyone to exhibit leadership skills in their own way.

6. Class Pet
Whether goldfish, lizard, hamster or the stuffed animal version of a pet, taking turns caring for a class pet is one of the best and earliest ways to teach leadership in the classroom. When they are “on duty,” students are given the task of feeding, watering and providing care for the class pet. This teaches responsibility, compassion, valuing and placing the needs of others above their own, which are all excellent, admirable leadership qualities – not to mention how fun and rewarding it can be!

7. Community Project
This project is a heart-warming way to teach about leadership in ways that extend beyond the classroom. Think about needs that may exist within your community and determine what might be most impactful or appropriate for your class to support. Talk with your students about the opportunity to be a good leader, at school, at home and within the community. Kids can work together to prepare such items as snack bags for a local food bank, care packages for troops or cards to a senior center. The project is a wonderful way to exhibit admirable leadership skills while caring for others.

Explore Classroom Leadership Lessons

Leadership comes in many shapes and forms, and the ideas we’ve reviewed here are just a small sampling of fun ways you can teach leadership in the classroom. Consider the age of your students, the size of your class, the personalities of your students, the area or region you live in or even the time of year, as you explore what’s the right fit for you and your students. Though it’s a big concept, leadership can be one of the most important lessons in the classroom and with the right approach, you and your students can have fun with it too!

At Raymond Geddes, we’re here to support educators in achieving their classroom goals, including how to teach leadership in the classroom. Contact us today or request a school supply catalog and learn more about the supplies and resources from Raymond Geddes.