School Elections Special Blog

Future Hope Montessori School Presidential Elections
After watching the fantastic locally filmed and produced movie, ‘A Goat for a Vote’ by Jeroen van Velzen, the children at Future Hope Montessori School were inspired. By popular
demand, we began the process for electing our own school president. The film displayed a poignant reality
where girls are often taking second place to boys. In a group discussion our students decided that this was
unfair and that something should be done about gender equality. The decision to elect a male and female
president was born….
The first stage was to nominate potential candidates. The whole school voted for their favourite nominees.
All children over ten years were able to self-nominate too. By the end of the week, there were around 12
candidates with their vices. After a discussion on what was involved and how to go about it, the number of
candidates running for president dropped quickly to 6. This happened as soon as the students saw who
they were running against. The next stage was to decorate the school with posters identifying their
campaign angle and names for president and vice. The children set off excitedly….
Monday morning and the school looked as though it has been vandalised!!! There were scrappy bits of
paper glued all over the walls, windows and doors with names scrawled on them. The first activity of the
day was washing the walls!! Followed by a lesson on poster design and clear and how to display them. By
the end of the week the school looked wonderful with colourful posters and photos. Initially some of the
campaign slogans were a little optimistic such as ‘vote for me and you will get chapatti every day!’
Early Campaign Posters
Every week for the next six weeks the students running for vice and presidents met weekly and with help
from the teachers began to understand a basic version of the complex world of politics, campaigning and
fair voting. Many of the students by themselves wrote wonderful songs and raps to use as part of their
campaigns. They particularly enjoyed posing for photos and discussions with the teachers on what they
could do to make the school better.
As the elections drew closer there was a lot of nerves and some re shuffling as students changed their vice
and presidents, campaigners crossed to join other teams and students tried to drop out of the running. It
was a time of high excitement, tension and emotions. Campaigning stepped up and the students came
with their budgets to the office requesting to buy sweets and biscuits to use to sweeten their campaign.
Three days to go and the whole school began making a lot of noise. Every child ran to get musical
instruments and began parading around the school chanting the names of the students they wanted to
win. The children in neighbouring schools climbed our walls and peeped on in fascination at the racket the
children were making!
Delivering biscuits to try and Campaign song
School making music and
chanting the names of their
favourite students
The students made their way around every classroom presenting the children with a speech, song and
something delicious. By the end of the week, even the smallest children knew what was happening and
could tell you who they wanted to vote for. The morning of Election Day and huge posters for each
campaign were displayed in the dining hall. The students spent every spare moment rehearsing in huddled
groups in the playground. The students were given their final lesson to practice the elements of a good
speech and worked on their confidence and body language. The school was decorated with flowers and
balloons and after a special pilau lunch, everyone assembled in the dining hall.
It was very nerve wracking to be the first on the stand, but one of the girls took the lead and delivered a
fabulous, confident speech. There was lots of applause for each candidate as one by one they presented
their speeches, songs and raps. All running presidents had good ideas for improving the school such as a
school bus for trips and taking the children who live far away home, more flowers and a pen pal for every
child. Some got a little carried away and promised swimming pools and leather shoes for every child. Either
way, the rest of the school responded with loud cheers and applause. After every student running for
president had delivered their speeches the Head Teacher carefully explained how the voting system works.
Once the students all understood the voting began with each president voting for themselves, it was
followed by each student one by one throughout the school. The Kindergarten children were identifying
the sounds in each name and able to choose their candidate. Some needed a little help reaching the ballot
After what felt like a very long time, the counting of votes began. For the boys, there was a very clear
winner, for the girls, it was close between each of the three candidates. The whole school was called back
and the results announced. The children went wild! The runners up came forward and took their
participation certificates and the new male and female president were given medals by the Director. They
have now assumed the roles of Head Boy and Head Girl along with the support of their vices. We have high
hopes that they will work hard to make the school an even better place and even start the school
magazine. Hongera Sana, congratulations and well done all.
Awarding the new presidents and Certificates for taking part, after all Cheering and celebrating their new
vice presidents
it is not all about winning