With around 800 students on a single campus, one of the great strengths of Lowther Hall is its range of cross-age programs, which see girls of varying ages working and learning together.
Having older mentors and role models provides younger girls with examples they can emulate in terms of confidence, trying new things and navigating challenges with a positive outlook. It also provides them with another avenue for sharing joys and struggles and adds an additional layer of care with extra pairs of eyes to let staff know if a girl seems in need of assistance.
The leadership opportunities provided for students (which begin in Year 1) build self-esteem and foster self-efficacy. Particularly in the adolescent years, having a focus on the experiences of others and a responsibility for them, is incredibly powerful in promoting positive mental health.
Lowther Hall’s Principal, Ms Elisabeth Rhodes and Deputy Principal, Ms Tracy Healy presented recently at the ‘National Coalition of Girls’ Schools Global Forum on Girls’ Education II’ in Washington DC, on the world class leadership and cross-age programs at Lowther Hall.
The cross-age leadership program
The Year 8 Mentoring Program sees students apply for positions to work with significantly younger students in specific areas of interest. Mentoring positions include Kindergarten, Prep and Year 1 Gate Greeters; Prep and Year 1 Playground Friends; Kindergarten Play Friends, Prep and Year 1 Reading Friends; Years 2 to 6 Classroom Mentors; Years 1 to 5 Camp Leaders; and Choreographic Assistants for the Junior School Musical.
In the Year 6 Leadership Program, all students across the year level hold a leadership position in which they promote, devise and lead activities for younger students.
The Year 4 Mentoring Program provides an opportunity for some of the younger girls to provide friendship and guidance to the Year 1 students as they transition from the Early Years building into the Years 2 to 6 area. Every girl in
Year 4 and Year 1 is involved.
For our youngest leaders, specific projects within the Early Years precinct, Blinkbonnie House, provide opportunities for Year 1 students to lead younger peers in games and learning activities which they plan, communicate and run with staff facilitation. The girls learn valuable skills associated with leadership including asking questions and seeking assistance, collaboration, problem solving and reflecting on progress in order to make improvements.
The prefect system
Ten Year 12 students are elected into the most senior student leadership positions within the school. The Prefect Body shares the leadership of Lowther Hall’s culture and climate with the School’s executive staff.
Some of the Prefect Body’s specific cross-age focuses include School Captain led Senior School Assemblies, Deputy School Captain chairing of Student Representative Council, Social Justice Prefect chairing of the Social Justice Committee and Prefect mentoring of Year 6 Leaders.
Cross-age activities continue into life after Lowther with Old Grammarians encouraged to stay connected and give back by being involved in programs and events with current students.
Some specific ways in which this occurs are the Year 7 School History Project, Careers Expos, the Assembly Guest Speaker Series, the Year 11 Leadership Conference Panel and the Year 12 Pathways Panel Series.