Programs, Classes & Private Lessons

Navigating the Speech Arts & Drama Program

Speech Arts group classes are an ideal introduction to our program. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about our classes.

My child is new to speech arts. Which class should I take first?

We recommend Rhymes and Rhythms (ages 3–5) and Act Up, Speak Out! (ages 6–9) classes as an ideal introduction to the program for young children. These classes provide a positive environment, introduce children to the principles of good speech and voice, encourage an appreciation of language and literature, and build confidence in communication and performance. These are creative drama based classes and students work and perform as a group; students are encouraged to review material at home but there is a minimal practice commitment.

The Storybook Series provides a fun, short-term introduction to speech arts and drama.  Children enter the world of story through dramatic play, giving voice and action to favourite picture books.  This is a playful class focused on imagination, creativity and storytelling.

Children 9–15 who are interested in developing presentation skills may find that our Public Speaking for Children & Teens class is a good place to start. This class teaches children and teens how to create, develop, organize and present speeches. There is a written component to this class.

Speechworks can also serve as an opportunity for students new to speech arts. Speechworks classes mirror our private lesson curriculum and provide a fun and collaborative group setting and a focus on solo performance and goal-setting.  Students that take Speechworks should be prepared for regular at-home practice sessions and should plan to take the class all year.

Our Junior Debate Club is suitable for students grade 6–8 with little or no debate experience. This class is a wonderful supplement to students in school debate clubs, or any student interested in honing their debating skills.

Debate Clubs are offered at the Intermediate and Senior level, meeting the needs of beginner and advanced debaters in junior and senior high school.

Speaker's Tool Kit and Dramatic Speaker's Tool Kit classes are an ideal introduction to the speech and drama program for children, teens and adults.  These classes provide the opportunity to explore a range of fundamental speaking and presentation skills within a manageable time frame. 

My child will not reach the minimum age before the start of the class. May they still join?

We do not to extend the age range of the class to children who are younger or older than the posted range. Our classes depend on interaction and cooperation and consistency in age and maturity among our students is an important element of a successful group dynamic.

My child has completed a semester of Act Up Speak Out or Rhymes and Rhythms. What is our next step in the program?

These classes are designed to accommodate students who join us for one semester or more. We encourage students to stay in the class for a full year, and offer priority winter semester registration to students registered in fall classes.

These classes are also meant to be introductory — they provide an awareness of good speech and performance skills and allow opportunities to develop confidence. Many students benefit from taking the classes over an extended period of time, moving up through the various age groups.

Students who wish to hone their skills and pursue personal performance goals may find our Speechworks program a good next step. Speechworks classes are smaller, with only 4 to 6 children, and allow students to work with a broad range of literature and set performance goal that may include festivals, recitals, and examinations.  Speechworks classes run for a full year, with new students joining in September.

Students may move from Act Up, Speak Out! into a Public Speaking, Speaker's Tool Kit, or Dramatic Speaker's Tool Kit class. This provides an excellent balance in skills as students will have worked with creative drama, poetry and stories and developed public speaking and presentation skills.

My child has completed a Public Speaking for Children & Teens class. What is our next step in the program?

The Public Speaking class offers students the chance to advance their skills in a level two class. Once students have completed both levels, options include Speechworks classes, Speaker's Tool Kit Series or private instruction.

I am interested in private lessons for my child. What should I expect and how do I arrange a placement?

Many students move from our group classes into individual instruction. Elements of our curriculum are reflected in all the group classes but private instruction offers the ultimate opportunity for growth and skill development. Private instruction is perfect for students who want to focus on their own skills. There are many opportunities to perform and chart progress (including festivals and examinations) and students often stay in the program for several years. It's exactly like taking a piano lesson — just with literature, speaking voice and performance. At-home practice is essential to success in private lessons.

Placement in private lessons can be arranged through the Speech Arts Coordinator.

 "What began as an 'Introduction to Speech — Rhymes and Rhythms' class... turned into a 16-year relationship with the Speech program. Though our sons loved their music lessons at the Conservatory, over the years Speech was always the class that they couldn't wait to get to." — M & W. Copeland