Elementary School Student Council
June 01, 2005
Some words of advice for teachers looking for help with a student council. We started a student council in our elementary school this year, using grades 5 and 6 at the principal’s request. Having the principal on board is most important, so speak to your principal for his or her ideas. They are your best allies.
Members of the student council are elected after writing paragraphs to read about why they should be elected. Each month a different student is the chairperson and another the secretary. For younger children, you might want to limit the amount of members to a manageable number.
Keep the expectations very basic and simple. The students will blossom and accomplish great things. It is tempting to do the work for them, as it would take an adult five minutes to do what may take them five hours. However, they will not learn if they don’t do. We use parliamentary procedure to speed up our 25-minute weekly meetings. After they get the idea, it really helps.
There are many ideas that they will come up with that are too ambitious for them to succeed. You will be able to guide them to start with something simple, and they will grasp the idea from then on. The projects we have undertaken have included:
- Suggestion boxes in each room;
- Blizzard Day (preceded by school-wide snowflake making) with everyone wearing white clothes, winter hats and mittens;
- Tsunami Relief effort with hats allowed for $1 and hearts displayed for any donation, and an assembly which included a presentation of a check to a representative of UNICEF;
- Shriners’ Hospital for Children aluminum tab collection to purchase medical and non-medical items for this hospital that provides care at no charge to the recipients; and,
- An Ice Cream Social for the entire school (with voluntary donations) to take place in June.
- Our council also made posters for the PTO, and will be involved in a school-wide safety program next year, because a train is coming to our little town.
All the planning is done by committees of students, headed by members of the student council with an advisor there to facilitate only.