Developing Both Competence and Confidence

by Head of Middle School Kirsten Rosolen
At New Canaan Country School, we believe that being academically well prepared is simply not enough. To be successful in life, we want our students to have a combination of both competence and confidence.
Our learning environment, at each grade level, is deliberately designed to balance academics with age-appropriate social and emotional development.
 
In the earliest grades, we encourage children to be children – to learn through play, be outdoors and to develop a love for school as they progressively master more challenging work. As they mature, we increase workloads and expectations, while still cultivating the wonder of learning. Our oldest students are developmentally ready for intensive critical thinking, analysis and preparation for high school.
 
Students here know that it is a safe place where they can try new things. One way we do this, is to teach each of our students how to be a confident public speaker.
 
As early as Beginners (age 3), we guide them in leading daily circle time. In Middle School, they focus on the actual mechanics of public speaking; they are introduced to the fundamentals of speech cadence and rhythm, body awareness and voice projection.
 
By the time they are in Upper School, students are speaking comfortably at all-school assemblies, participating in mock judicial trials, and making persuasive oral arguments in debates. Their confidence and competence has prepared them for leadership in secondary school and for life.
 
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