As children enter school, they are beginning to view themselves as part of a larger world, one that demands implicit and explicit skill competencies to be mastered.
Social skills play a critical role in children's well-being and progressive development. Gerstell Academy assists children in mastering social skills by providing instruction and focusing on four direct instruction principles of learning: modeling, role-playing, performance feedback, and transfer training. This training provides students from pre-k through 12th grade opportunites to be successful in the outside world by practicing hypothetical situations. Students develop confidence as they learn to possess the skills and ability to effect change; therefore, leadership is pre-eminent in both academic and social areas for growth.
Additionally, leadership development requires specific education and comprehensive skill development. At Gerstell Academy, leadership education focuses on the five academic areas of leadership, relevant history, science, psychology, and comparative religions and cultures. Leadership skills are futher fostered by instilling the language of leadership which reinforces the mindset of an effective leader, including the "Rule of One" ["Perform one random act of kindness; Learn one new fact or item; Compliment at least one person"], the quote, "Leave it as you found it or better", and the definition of critical thinking. At Gerstell, we define "critical thinking" as "The ability to analyze facts, to generate and organize ideas, to defend logical results, to make comparisons, to draw inferences, to evaluate arguments excluding bias, to solve problems, and to be open-minded when reflecting on the process." The ability to think critically ensures that leaders, including future leaders, are objective in their analysis of information.