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Nurturing Confidence: Students Find their Voice at Del Mar Pines School

Nov 15, 2022 |  | Marci McCord

Students at Del Mar Pines School start building confidence from their first days in kindergarten and work on strengthening their belief in themselves and their communication abilities every day. Confidence is what allows us to speak in public, to take leadership roles, and to express ourselves artistically. When children believe in themselves and their abilities, they eagerly engage with and participate in learning.

2 DMP students wearing costumes
Students at Del Mar Pines School build confidence in their ability to communicate, whether it’s to a small group or a large crowd.

Our youngest learners start finding their voices through poetry. At Del Mar Pines, kindergarteners and first graders begin this process by memorizing a poem, discovering how words work together and finding their rhythm. The students also talk with each other about the poem’s meaning, stanza by stanza, and get used to speaking aloud in public by reciting it to their classmates.

Even at this early age, our teachers see that some students take to speaking in front of the class quickly. We also know that others are shy, so teachers and peers encourage all students to feel more comfortable each time it is their turn to share or lead. Nurturing confidence is not just an outcome but an advantage of small class sizes and dedicated staff at Del Mar Pines School.

As students continue through the lower grades, their responsibilities in the classroom increase. For example, the pledge leader gets the attention of the class and begins the day. The VIP of the Day reads the class message from the teacher, reviews the schedule, leads show and tell, and even answers questions from other students.

Pledge leaders and VIPs can be proud of themselves for being in front of their friends and helping keep the class on track every day. Other students have roles to play as well, including the line leader and the “caboose,” both of whom help classes move efficiently throughout the building. No matter the part they play in each school day, students all take their roles very seriously.

A DMP student participates at a bootcamp fashion show

In the upper grades, group projects demonstrate how each student has a job and a purpose in accomplishing a task. Roles such as notetaker, data recorder, and progress monitor ensure students learn that success comes through teamwork. They continue to develop confidence while also learning to respect their peers’ positions.

These lessons take on extra meaning as part of the Del Mar Pines School participation in the No Place for Hate initiative, a national program that improves school climate through anti-bias and anti-bullying initiatives. Older students prepare and give 25-minute lessons to younger kids, complete with posters or other visuals to enhance their message.

While some students may be natural public speakers, others shine on the stage. Every year starting in kindergarten, each child participates in a class musical that relates to the social studies lessons for their grade. Students learn to work together as a team to put on the play and gain valuable experience speaking and singing into a microphone. And every DMP family looks forward to our annual Spring Sing production, which also includes the entire school working together to put on a fresh new show with sets and costumes where students from all grades dance, act and sing together. Two optional talent shows give students more opportunities to be in front of an audience.

By the time students are preparing for middle school, they are ready to transfer their self-assurance and their leadership skills to a new group of friends and a new set of experiences.The parent of a sixth grader noted that her son has “the confidence to serve as a role model and leader for the students in the classes below him. It has been a time for him to enjoy being the oldest on campus but also a time for him to understand the responsibilities that come with being a sixth grader.”

It’s important that every student at Del Mar Pines School develops the belief in their ability to communicate, whether it’s to a small group or a large crowd. No matter where they go in life, they arrive with confidence in their voice, in their abilities, and in the belief that they have something important to say.

Del Mar Pines School is a secular, private elementary school (grades K-6) in the Carmel Valley area of San Diego California. Founded in 1978, Del Mar Pines School continually provides students with excellent academic programs which promote children’s curiosity for learning, confidence and determination, while also developing well-rounded children of strong character.

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