Leadership skills are directly taught and reinforced regularly at St. Thomas’s Day School through everyday experiences, such as collaborative projects, presentations, debates, and performances. Students are taught how to be leaders and then immersed in experiences that provide practice using leadership skills. Each year, expectations are increased slightly, nudging students towards increasing levels of independence and responsibility.
Drama classes and Morning Gathering provide opportunities for students to learn and practice public speaking. Direct instruction on poise and presentation, including voice projection, eye contact, tone of voice, and confidence, provides students with the tools needed to participate in yearly class plays and performances. Students get additional practice in public speaking when they assume roles in Morning Gathering. They practice being in front of a crowd, speaking to an audience, and communicating ideas.
The social studies program promotes critical thinking skills, which are also essential for strong leadership. Each grade has an essential question and three themes that guide the thinking for the year. These questions and themes build on one another, developing skills at each level that promote leadership and help students express their ideas effectively. Fourth graders learn about analyzing stories and historical events from multiple perspectives. Fifth graders explore agency and learn how people have demonstrated agency throughout history. Sixth graders examine how conflict, a universal problem throughout time and across the world, has historically led to change. Students end their educational experience at St. Thomas’s Day School by learning about youth leaders and thinking about how they, as individuals, can make an impact on the world.