Fostering student leadership is a critical component of a successful and sustainable intramural program. Including students as an integral part of the planning and running of any program has a number of benefits. When students are given the responsibility for intramurals under staff guidance they tend to take ownership for the program, promote and encourage participation amongst their peers, and over time become mentors to younger students entering the school. Having students as the organizers also reduces the responsibilities of educators, leaving them to handle the supervisory tasks and adopt the supporting role of helping students develop their leadership skills. This is particularly important at an elementary school level when students are beginning to develop their leadership skills and need greater support (e.g., with teamwork, social skills, organization, officiating, and modeling inclusion).
Creating a Safe and Welcoming Environment
It is exceptionally important to consider how to establish and foster an emotionally safe intramural environment that is inclusive of all students. Consider using the acronym SAFE to design an intramural program where everyone feels welcomed. A SAFE intramural program includes a focus on:
- Skills – Provide opportunities for students to further develop or enhance skills learned in Health and Physical Education by providing additional, varied opportunities to apply those learned skills. An emotionally safe intramural program does not cater to students who already have access to developing their skills through team participation and community sports.
- Awareness – Consider the age and stage of development of all participants, being aware of the diversity of identities, needs, and interests of all students in the school community.
- Fun – Emphasize fun, pleasure, social interaction, and inclusive participation.
- Environment – Create an inclusive environment in which all participants feel safe with others to make mistakes, try new things, and feel a sense of belonging.