Shaping leaders of tomorrow

FOX 7's Nick Spinetto went back to class, not for a history lesson, but to see how today's kids are being shaped into the leaders of tomorrow.

You may have heard about the book, "7 Habits of Highly Effective People". Well, some local children are learning from an adaptation of it called "7 Habits of Happy Kids". Teachers are using it as blueprint to teach their students how leaders are made not born.

Hearing music and singing inside a preschool classroom isn't new. However if you listen closely to the words, you realize gone are the days of simply learning the alphabet and colors.

Today some children are learning words, phrases and skills molding them to take charge.

With their body's sitting on the floor, legs crossed and arms resting a group of toddlers listens to stories from the "7 Habits of Happy Kids". It's a blueprint the teachers from the Rainbow Station use as a lesson plan.

Rachel Stigler is the Preschool Program Coordinator at the Rainbow Station in Cedar Park. "It really teaches them to be a leader in their time now, which is going to prepare them for their future," Stigler says.

Stigler adds, "Being a leader is so important. As a child, you always hear don't be a follower, be a leader and teaching these children to be in charge of themselves really helps set that example."

Examples from the book are used in the classroom everyday.

Habits are painted on a tree in the school's lobby to plant the seeds of how to be a good person, a friend, and a leader.

Some of the habits include:

- Be proactive: you're in charge

- Put first things first: work first, then play

- Think win-win: everyone can win.

Stigler says, "As adults we constantly have to try and think win-win. I always don't get my way and that's how we're teaching children. Sometimes we have to work together to move on from that."

Four-year-old Case uses win-win by sharing his toys with his siblings and his friends.

Stigler says friends of all ages have learned from these habits.

"A three-year-old is so much more than a fun three-year-old. They are intelligent. They are passionate. They are really good learners. If they can retain these habits and put it out to the world I think that is just wonderful."

The main goal is teaching children learning can be fun. But it's also important the children actually have fun through art projects and recess.

"It's all about making that happy choice and being in charge of yourself. If they want to be president one day they have to make that decision now and take charge of that," Stigler says.

Ultimately, they don't want to create any extra pressure. They want to create a learning environment where the children thrive and it's something they applaud.

Stigler's previous classes have done well with these tools as they've moved up in grade levels.

She says parents can employ these tools at home as well. She recommends to make it fun and remember not to put too much pressure on your child.

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