Public Speaking is an important component of The Country School’s overall Elmore Leadership Program. For 60 years, we have been educating and producing young leaders who can speak comfortably in public to adults and peers, family and strangers. Knowing and using their voices, our students learn that what they have to say is important and that what others have to say is worth hearing.
Our Public Speaking signature program has the annual MacLane Poetry Recitation as its most visible growth experience. Begun by the school’s first Headmaster, David T. Maclane, in 1957 and held every year since, the MacLane Recitation is The Country School’s oldest tradition.
For this annual celebration of both the written and the spoken word, every student in the school memorizes a poem and recites it in front of classmates, teachers, and parents. Even PreSchool and PreK students learn poems and recite them in small groups. In the Middle School, the recitation is juried, and a panel of outside judges selects a winner from among the finalists. Learn more about MacLane Poetry
Public Speaking takes place on a daily basis at The Country School in both larger and smaller ways. Our youngest students use their voices during Circle Time and for parents and other guests during celebrations of learning. At Lower School and All-School Meetings, they watch other students make announcements and may volunteer to make announcements themselves.
When I worked in admissions, we could always tell which students came from The Country School. In an interview, they were comfortable speaking with adults and could handle unexpected questions because they could think and speak on their feet. Later, when Country School students enrolled, they were among the first to offer an opinion during a class discussion or ask for extra help when it was needed.
─ Bill Dennett, educational consultant and former Director of Admission at Choate Rosemary Hall and Emma Willard School
Public Speaking News
The voice preparation and confidence developed in the early years grows stronger each year, with 4th and 5th Graders running the weekly WTCS Radio Show, and then continuing on and culminating as 7th and 8th Graders assume leadership for the school, become captains of sports teams, run service initiatives, and participate on clubs that require excellent public speaking skills.
The value of our public speaking experiences has been demonstrated by the performance of Country School students at outside-of-school competitions; in recent years, a 6th Grader was awarded best delegate at a Model UN event, the Robotics Team won an award for oral presentation and communication at the state Robotics Championship, and two students won first and third place at a regional Spanish language spelling bee.
Providing our students constant opportunities to speak publicly teaches them to convey their ideas concisely and effectively, prepares them for interviews for secondary school, college, and beyond, and allows them to make a difference in the classroom, their community, career, and life.