3 Ways Your Child Can Develop Leadership Skills in Boarding School

Develop Leadership Skills in Boarding School

“Education is the mother of leadership,” wrote Wendell Willkie – lawyer, activist and American presidential candidate of the 1940s. With modern education that supports the development of a child’s personal strengths as well as their academic ones, Willkie’s words hold true today.

If you enrol your child in a top boarding school like Lakefield College School (LCS), you can trust that their skills and interests will be nurtured through close mentorships, holistic development strategies and – perhaps most importantly – initiatives designed to help them become leaders in their own communities.

Here are three ways your child will develop their own leadership skills in boarding school:

1. Becoming a Critical Thinker & Skilled Communicator in Boarding School

Along with a reputation for high academic standards and comprehensive university preparation, independent boarding schools like LCS prioritize educating the whole child – helping children transform into charismatic, confident and self-reliant leaders.

Academia recognizes that building the next generation of leaders is about more than just coursework. Critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity are currently cited by the National Education Association as the pillars of “21st century learning.”

For students in boarding school, collaboration and communication skills become second nature. They learn to negotiate relationships, resolve conflicts, work in teams and understand the value they bring as individuals in a close-knit community. The critical thinking and creativity encouraged in the boarding school classroom also help lay foundations for strong leaders who bring integrity and individuality to the table.

Ruben Gaztambide-Fernandez, professor with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), says personality skillsets are emphasized in the elite private school context because “part of what it means to be excellent today is to be excellent at a lot of different things.”

“Leadership isn’t a course in the curriculum,” Gaztambide-Fernandez explains. “It is the curriculum.”

Lakefield College School promotes leadership qualities in students from Grade 9 - Grade 12
Lakefield College School promotes leadership qualities in students from Grade 9 – Grade 12

2. Finding a Role Model in Boarding School – And Becoming One for Others

The right boarding school will give your child access to a wealth of potential role models, by connecting them with enthusiastic instructors in the classroom and compassionate heads of houses in residence. In this environment, children not only have the opportunity to learn from mentors, but to become mentors themselves.

With the guidance of staff at LCS for example, each student is encouraged to create long-term goals and areas of focus in their leadership skills development, which they can work to strengthen through school activities and leadership positions.

LCS students support each other as they study, live, learn and grow together
LCS students support each other as they study, live, learn and grow together

At LCS, this process culminates in the Senior-in-Charge (SIC) Program when graduating students put their skills into practice in community leadership positions such as Co-Head Students, Heads of School Life, Heads of Standards, Student Services Leaders and more.

This process helps senior students develop into models of citizenship, engagement and school spirit for younger students. Younger students then model their leadership skills after the student leaders on campus, preparing to take over these roles when they themselves achieve seniority.

3. Practicing Leadership Qualities Beyond the Boarding School Classroom

Students in private boarding school are able to pursue their areas of natural interest that often extend beyond the four walls of their classrooms. They can explore and enhance their strengths in fields as diverse as science and drama, food services and the great outdoors, fine arts and computer technology – all while building lasting self-confidence.

If your child pursues team sports in boarding school, they’ll be able to bolster leadership qualities like perseverance, motivation and cooperation in the interest of team victories. If they pursue debating or drama, they’ll be taught to practice self-awareness and self-confidence onstage or at the podium, and resourcefulness and innovation behind the curtain.

Students perform for their peers in one of Lakefield College School’s theatrical productions
Students perform for their peers in one of Lakefield College School’s theatrical productions

LCS students have even participated in “adventures in leadership” that take them to youth leadership development conferences in Canada and abroad – like last year’s trip to Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts.

Whether your child feels more at home in an athletics facility, a chapel, a debate podium, or otherwise, boarding schools like LCS are committed to helping them become the confident, ethical and skillful leaders they are meant to be.

Are you interested in helping your child develop these skills by enrolling them in boarding school in Ontario? Visit LCS to learn more about getting started.