Nancy’s Note 11/17/2021

Grade 5s & 6s LEAD Again

On Thursday, we had our first in-person assembly since before COVID-19 struck. We gathered together in Taddle Creek Park (distanced and masked) for a moving ceremony in honour of Remembrance Day, planned, organized, and executed by our Grade 5 and 6 students. Our location in a public space meant passers-by joined in and reflected with us as we honoured the service of our country’s soldiers and the sacrifices they made for our freedoms. This was just one of many events that our oldest students will initiate and lead this year. 

MabinLEADs is our new name for the “Leadership Academy” that occurs in our oldest grades. LEAD stands for Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Design, all key components of our Grade 5-6 program. Design thinking and authentic problem-solving are woven into the program through intentional opportunities to lead. Unlike other independent schools, where the oldest students tend to be in Grade 8 or higher, our oldest students are only 12 years old when they graduate, and they are given opportunities to be leaders that are unique to our school. As a result, they leave in Grade 7 with exceptional skills in leadership, problem-solving, collaborating, and using empathy. Our excellence in teaching these skills has been recognized by the Ashoka Foundation, which named us the first independent Ashoka Changemaker School in Canada.

For Remembrance Day, for example, two students took charge of the event: Simon (Grade 6) and Alexander (Grade 5). Simon and Alexander worked with their teachers and classmates to design an assembly that would educate our students and honour our veterans. This included reaching out to Major Gabriel Granatstein, father of Charlotte (‘28), and asking him to speak about his experiences as a soldier and his thoughts about peace. Gabriel, as we know him, was so impressed with the correspondence, he assumed Alexander and Simon were staff members! Simon and Alexander also asked Bruce Grant, our music teacher, if he could mark a moment of silence with the playing of Taps at the beginning and the Reveille at the end. We are grateful to Bruce and Gabriel for punctuating our assembly with these meaningful moments.

In addition to leading most of the major events of our school year, our Grade 5 and 6 students will be engaging with Junior Achievement this week and beginning to think about entrepreneurial opportunities. Students will use design thinking to identify a problem and create a solution, marketing a new product or business. We look forward to seeing what they come up with in their explorations of the business world. We also hope to connect each of them with a mentor from our parent or alumni communities — so please let us know if you are interested in mentoring a young entrepreneur in the new year.

We are proud of our student leaders and their development and growth as they travel through the 8 year journey that is The Mabin School. We are proud that each and every one of them leaves our school a changemaker, ready to turn empathy into action as they enter a bigger sphere that needs their influence more than ever.