Mason’s favorite part of the week is when he gets to go to his Leadership Internship, a position that helps him feel important, but which also teaches him responsibility, organization and communication skills. What makes his internship unique? He’s only in the fourth grade.
More than ever, schools across the country are encouraging students of all majors toward internships, and several have even added them to their graduation requirements. Often, when you hear about internships, you hear from employers, college officials and high school administrators with a belief that an internship can set a student apart from his or her peers and is integral to finding meaningful employment.
One school in North Carolina is offering the benefits of internships to elementary school students, and with great results.
Green Leadership and World Languages Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh, North Carolina, is offering a unique opportunity for third, fourth and fifth grade students. A Leadership Internship. This strategy is designed to promote social emotional learning that supports their culture and climate and offers experiential learning opportunities designed to enhance students’ social and emotional competence.
By framing the positions as internships, assigned tasks start to feel more important. While they might not be traditional jobs, these internships do let students have a sense of pride and ownership about their work, much in the same they will experience later in their professional life.
What can children learn from their internship?
A sense of responsibility – children learn about commitment, to be on time, do their best and be proud of the results
- One person can make a difference – children learn that they can have an impact on someone or something else
- The benefit of sacrifice – children learn that there are important things besides themselves
- Job skills – children learning about fields that may help them decide on future careers
- How to fill idle time wisely – children learn to use time to help others
What kind of internships can be offered?
- Office Intern: Students will work closely with the office staff to complete tasks within the office setting. Escorting students to class, delivering items throughout the school, sorting mail, answering phones, making and distributing copies
- Library Intern: Students will work closely with media specialist to maintain books, shelve books, assist during check out / in and create displays within the media center
- Teaching Intern: Students will be assigned to a specific teacher to assist with literacy and math skills. Students could be working with other students in practicing sight words, math facts or listening to reading
- Facilities Intern: Students will work closely with our custodial staff to keep the building in great condition. Activities will include inside and outside duties
- Café Intern: Students will work closely with the Instructional Assistants in the Cafeteria during Kindergarten and First grade lunch to ensure that all students get their lunches opened and cleaned up in a timely manner
Rooted in their vision and school culture, Green Leadership and World Languages Magnet Elementary School integrates the Dr. Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People into their programs as they celebrate diversity, promote academic excellence through rigorous and relevant instruction, build strong character to create responsible 21st century citizens and inspire students to discover the leader in themselves and others.