There is an old English proverb ‘manners makyth men’ attributed to William of Wykeham who was the founder of Winchester College and New College, Oxford. Many boys’ schools around the world have adopted this motto.
So what ‘makyth’ girls? I would argue, confidence ‘makyth’ girls. In fact, success is correlated with confidence just as strongly as competence. And although it doesn’t have the same alliterative power of Wykham’s motto, it is backed up by a growing body of research. I found this passage from the linked article particularly poignant as I considered how we approach building girls confidence at Elmwood: “Confidence is a belief in one’s ability to succeed, a belief that stimulates action. In turn, taking action bolsters one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed. So confidence accumulates—through hard work, through success, and even through failure.”
This week’s newsletter features examples of how we use that “virtuous circle” to develop girls’ confidence from the earliest years at Elmwood. In our Junior School, our Senior Kindergarten and Grade 1 students performed on the stage for the first time. In grades 5 to 7, girls journeyed to The Study in Montreal to participate in their annual girls’ leadership conference. In Grade 12, Sports Captain, Eleanor Duffley, demonstrated her confidence by bringing a new charity event to the school, the Inside Ride.
These are just a few examples of how we encourage girls to take risks, overcome failure and persevere. It’s how we ‘makyth’ girls who believe in themselves and their abilities, which ultimately ‘makyth’ success.