Student leaders at Saint Joseph School in Meriden, Connecticut took part in the first of three Wingman training days yesterday. Facilitated by educator and author Jen Stanchfield of Experiential Tools, the students immersed in a series of team building activities designed to build trust, confidence and a stronger community.
Principal Mrs. Katherin Sniffin read about Wingman in the Danbury News Times and took an immediate decision to learn more about the program directly from Dylan's Wings of Change.
After a series of review meetings between the foundation, Mrs. Sniffin and teachers, the decision to move forward was taken in October. Students in grades five through eight were invited to apply for the position of Wingman leader. Twenty six students applied and were accepted into the leadership team.
Their first challenge over the next eight weeks is to design the Wingman activities that they will deploy in all classrooms in their school, ranging right from pre-school children up to 8th grade. Guided by teacher champions and Mrs. Stanchfield, the Wingman leaders have full ownership of the project, extending to event planning, communications and delivery.
Many of the activities were multi-layered. Even this playground classic of Rock Paper Scissors played in two teams involved practice of negotiation skills, reaching a compromise and coordination as the two teams plotted how to beat the other and win the right to chase them at tag. The variety of activities kept the students fully engaged through a very intensive day.
Student input is central to the creation of the activities that the school will undertake through the year, to tailor the program to what their community needs and integrate fully into their faith teaching.
The Wingman leaders began the process to define the focus areas and will return to refine and select core content with the help of their teacher champions at their next immersion day.
Wingman will be introduced to the whole school community at a kick-off assembly in January 2016.
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