Arlene Foster lauded the Queen as a "tremendous leader" during her first engagement as First Minister at a Northern Ireland primary school.
She admired the monarch's Christian faith and dedication to duty during a visit to Pond Park Primary School in Lisburn.
The DUP leader toured the school and answered some of its more than 600 pupils' questions during an informal start to her new job.
She quoted former US president Abraham Lincoln and even greeted the school children using her own schoolgirl German.
She said the Queen's sense of duty and Christian faith was a role model for everybody.
"She is a tremendous leader."
The Fermanagh and South Tyrone Assembly member has met the Queen several times during official engagements.
One child asked was she as small as she looked.
The public representative responded: "She is quite tiny but her husband is very tall."
Mrs Foster said history was among her favourite subjects at school.
She became interested in politics while studying to be a lawyer at Queen's University Belfast, where she joined the Young Unionists and was involved in student's union politics.
She said she enjoyed helping people and getting things done.
Her priorities were ensuring every young boy and girl had an opportunity for a good education, having one single transfer test and improving the health service through better use of technology.
She told the children: "Abraham Lincoln said the best way to protect your future is to create it.
"I hope that you create a very positive future for yourselves and not rely on others to do it."
Pond Park Primary, a modern and sprawling building in suburban Lisburn, was given outstanding marks for the quality of its education during a recent inspection.