Teamwork, leadership, collaboration, problem solving – these are all skills we want OVS students to master and last week our elementary student leaders took a leap forward in their development of these skills during a Ropes Course challenge at the Upper Campus.
The fifth graders spent three hours tackling various initiatives on the low elements of the Ropes Course, which are designed to teach perseverance, effective communication, and trust. The “all aboard” challenge stretched the group’s problem-solving and collaboration skills as they figured out how to squeeze all 12 students on a small wooden platform.
“As a class our goal was teamwork and growth in leadership,” said fifth-grade teacher Michele Floyd, who heads up the Elementary Division at the Lower Campus. “We had many opportunities to discuss the styles of leadership we saw and what worked best.”
Ojai Valley School built the Ropes Course at the Upper Campus to spur character growth in students across grade levels. Middle and high school students, as well as summer campers and members of two university soccer teams, participate in Ropes Course challenges throughout the year.
“Where else can you experience a hands-on activity that actually builds teamwork, leadership and many other skills?” Mrs. Floyd said. “This is the very ‘stuff’ you can’t teach out of a book. We have an amazing opportunity to get our students outside, off technology, and engaging with each other. One of my students said, ‘These are tools we can use for the rest of our lives.’ It’s also an opportunity for kids to shine and step into a leadership role in a way they may never expect.”
Mrs. Floyd takes her class to the Ropes Course at the beginning of the academic year to set the stage for the leadership roles she asks her students to take on during the year. It is also a perfect time to work on community-building skills so her students are better prepared for their fall camping trip their roles as Character Captains who play a role in conflict resolution for the elementary grades.
At the end of the year, the fifth graders will visit to the Ropes Course again and exercises will be focused more on facing and overcoming personal and group challenges in preparation for their transition to middle school.