Public Speaking Institute - Elementary School

Summer Think Tank

Education Unlimited's programming for rising 4th and 5th graders begins with public speaking and debate, because we believe in the power of helping kids to develop their own authentic voices.  When students can think critically, quickly organize their thoughts, and present with confidence, they will have the power to advocate for themselves and the ideas that are important to them.

The Public Speaking Institute for our youngest campers is divided into 2 units: Debate and Public Speaking. Students can choose to take the class in-person completing both units (debate and speech) in the same week, or they can choose to do our live online course where they will cover each unit in a separate week. 
Designed to help students build confidence in their public speaking skills, our Public Speaking Institute trains students in public speaking, logic, and rhetoric through an interactive and dynamic curriculum that encourages incremental progress through ongoing practice and exercise. Over the course of the 5-day program, students will participate in two main courses: Public Speaking and Debate.

Two program options: 

  •  ONLINE COURSE - Entering grades 4-5 (6th graders see middle school course)
    • Each week covers either public speaking or debate
      • June 19 week public speaking
      • June 26 week debate
      • July 15 week public speaking
      • July 22 week debate
      • Take two weeks and save $50 off per week!
      • Students meet Mon- Fri live with their instructor and classmates via zoom.  Classes are 6 students for maximum participation. 
      • Class meets Mon - Fri from 9-12 pacific or 12-3 eastern with breaks as needed. 

  • In-Person COURSE - Entering grades 5-6 (6th graders can also take the 6-8th grade courses)
    • Students cover both public speaking and debate in the same week 
    • Camp checkin is on Sunday.  Students will meet their teachers and classmates, enjoy dinner together and play fun games to help them settle in. 
    • Class meets Monday - Friday.  
    • Three options are available: 
      • Reg Day (9am to 5pm) - Students can have lunch in the dining hall or bring lunch from home
      • Extended day (9am to 9pm - Lunch/Dinner included) 
      • Overnight camp - Students live in the dorms all meals included
    • Sample Daily Schedule: 
      • 9am to 12pm - Morning classes - Public Speaking
      • 12pm - 2pm - Lunch and afternoon recreation
      • 2pm - 5pm: Afternoon classes - Debate
      • 5pm - day campers go home and Extended day and overnight campers go to dinner
      • 6pm - 7:30 pm Evening elective classes
      • 7:30pm to 9pm - Games and recreation
    • Friday students have class as normal through lunch time.  After lunch, families are invited to join us for a final showcase where students will present prior to checking out for the week. 

What is covered in each unit? 


In this course, young debaters will learn the art of persuasive communication and develop critical thinking skills that will empower them to express their ideas effectively.  Through fast-paced engaging activities and structured debates, students will gain valuable tools to construct compelling arguments, counter opposing viewpoints, and cross-examine skillfully.

Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity to debate a wide range of age-appropriate topics that encourage exploration of diverse perspectives. By forming teams and engaging in friendly competition with their fellow campers, students will enhance their ability to present well-reasoned arguments while respecting the viewpoints of others. In the past, our debates have covered thought-provoking topics such as "Should schools mandate uniforms?" and "Should junk food be allowed in school vending machines?"

A key aspect of this program is teaching students to argue both sides of each resolution. This exercise fosters empathy and a deeper understanding of complex issues. By developing balanced arguments, participating in rigorous cross-examinations, and delivering powerful rebuttals, students will learn to communicate their thoughts confidently and engage in respectful intellectual discussions.

The skills acquired in this course extend beyond the realm of debate. Students will enhance their analytical thinking, public speaking, and quick reasoning skills. These skills will prove beneficial in academic settings, extracurricular activities, and future professional endeavors.

 Enroll now and witness your child's development into a skilled debater and critical thinker.

Public Speaking: Delivery / Persuasive Speaking 

In this course, young speakers will embark on a journey to develop their authentic voice as they learn the art of crafting and delivering engaging speeches. Throughout the week, students will engage in a series of exercises designed to hone their delivery skills, including voice projection, gestures, timing, and intonation.

As students gain comfort with delivery, they will transition into constructing speeches based on topics of their own choosing. Guided by our expert instructors, students will learn how to refine their chosen topics, create captivating introductions, organize speech content effectively, and deliver memorable conclusions. The emphasis is on natural, confident speaking, encouraging students to rely on their own voice rather than relying heavily on notes. This approach stands in contrast to the traditional method of reading aloud an essay, commonly taught as "public speaking."

At the end of the week, all students will showcase their progress by presenting a speech to their fellow campers. This provides an opportunity for them to apply the skills they have learned in a supportive and encouraging environment.

By the end of the course, students will have developed invaluable public speaking skills that extend far beyond the classroom. They will have gained confidence in self-expression, improved their ability to engage an audience, and refined their communication techniques. These skills will prove indispensable in various academic, personal, and professional settings.

Enroll now and witness the transformation as your child embraces their unique voice and captivates audiences with their compelling speeches.

Program Grades Location Start Date End Date Price Options Register

Click here for a downloadable information sheet on the online version of this program. 

Don’t see a class you want in your time zone? Check other time zones to flexibly fit your needs!

Click Here to View Sample ON-CAMPUS Schedule Click Here to View Sample ONLINE Schedule

On-line Program Schedule PSI 4th-5th

Each week, students will choose a major focus area: Debate or Public Speaking.
Students may repeat the course up to two times doing each major once.

On-Campus Sample Schedule PSI 4th-5th

8:00 am Breakfast in the dining hall (overnight campers)
9-9:15 am Extended day camper check-in
9:15 am Delivery class
12:00 pm Lunch in the dining hall (included for all campers)
1:15 pm Afternoon recreation
1:45 pm Debate class
5:30 pm Dinner in the dining hall (included for all campers)
6:30 pm Evening elective classes
8:00 pm Evening recreation activities
9:00 pm Extended day camper check-out
10:00 pm Floor check
10:30 pm Room check

Education Unlimited believes in small-group, immersive learning with subject matter experts and experienced teachers. We strive to provide industry-leading instruction to all of our students and hold all staff to the highest possible standards. Staff assignments vary by program and location. Some of our recent staff members for this program include:

Brianna Broady, MA - Camp Director and Instructor

Brianna Broady is a lecturer with a Master of Arts in Communication Studies from California State University, Northridge in Southern California.  Brianna teaches classes at several Southern California colleges in Communication Studies in her primary areas of interest: performance studies and intercultural communication studies.  A seasoned debater and coach, Brianna has brought extensive experience to her roles as both a public speaking instructor and camp director for Education Unlimited since 2012.  

As Director of Individual Events for Santa Monica College, Brianna coaches students in competitive public speaking in a variety of disciplines. During her undergraduate years at California State University, Northridge she competed in events ranging from informative speaking to programmed oral interpretation. Brianna was the first person in the history of the school to qualify for the prestigious National Individual Event Tournament of Champions all four years that she competed.

John Kephart, PhD - Camp Director and Instructor

Dr. John Kephart III is an associate professor at California State University, Northridge.  Dr. Kephart has a PhD in Rhetorical Theory and Criticism from the University of Southern California.  A member of the Education Unlimited team since 2008, Dr. Kephart has served as instructor, director and curriculum designer.  He helped to develop the curriculum for both the A+ Pre College and A+ High School summer camp programs.  Dr. Kephart has a teaching philosophy that values students’ active engagement in their own learning; he focuses on encouraging students to find their own voice and perspective on contemporary issues, helping them to be more avid learners, and more engaged citizens.

In addition to his faculty position, Dr. Kephart is also the director of the speech and debate program at CSU Northridge; he has over 16 years of experience coaching debate competitors of all ages.  A Los Angeles native and avid Dodgers fan, Dr. Kephart received his Masters of Arts and Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies from The University of Southern California.

Robert Loy, MA - Instructor

Robert Loy is an assistant professor of Communication Studies at Los Angeles Pierce College. He holds a Master of Arts Degree in Communication Studies from California State University, Northridge. Since 2014, he has been a lecturer at CSU Northridge in the areas of public speaking and argumentation.  A director with Education Unlimited since 2013, Robert has dedicated time throughout his career to ensure youth gain access to knowledge and skills to prepare them for college and career success.

Robert has received recognition throughout his academic career, most notably the Outstanding Teaching Associate Award and Outstanding Graduate Student Award of 2014 during his time at CSUN.  He has tutored for Project GRAD Los Angeles and worked with students in the Los Angeles Unified School District AVID Program. In his free time, Robert enjoys going to various baseball stadiums (Dodger Stadium is so far the best), visiting Disneyland/California Adventure and eating at new food truck venues.

Hershini Gopal - Instructor

Hershini is an experienced paralegal and mock trial competitor bound for UCLA School of Law in the fall of 2018.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Maryland. During her undergraduate years, Hershini worked for the United Nations Environmental Programme in Washington D.C. where she helped prepare for the 2015 Paris Climate Summit.  She also spent two years working as a paralegal for the Department of Justice. In addition to her work in D.C., Hershini was also a Mock Trial competitor for the University of Maryland for three years, and upon graduation she returned to her hometown of Denver, Colorado where she coached her former high school mock trial team to the state finals.

As a Colorado native, Hershini enjoys skiing and warming up afterward with vast quantities of chai.