How is Middle School Different from Elementary School?

27 DEC 2021

By the end of your student’s time in elementary school,   the   basics   should   be   set.   Your   child   mastered   writing   the alphabet in kindergarten, learned how to read at the start of elementary school, is (happily?) picking up chapter books on their own at the library, and hopefully has a favorite class subject or extracurricular. You’ve noticed that the amount of time they spend on their   homework   has   gradually   increased   each   school   year,   and   with   middle school approaching,   they   may   even   be   asking   for   more   sophisticated   digital   devices   to help organized  their   lives.   But   these   developmental moments aside, how exactly is middle school different from elementary school?  What else do you and your child need to consider before this transition? 


Top 5 Ways Middle School Differs from Elementary School: 

1) No   More   Homeroom,   Classes   Have   a   Different   Structure  –   Most curriculums around the world, from the IB PYP (International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program) to the American and British, structure elementary schools so that children have the same teacher for most of their core subjects (English, Math, Science) daily. This helps build upon a basis of trust and helps teachers   oversee   the   holistic, cross-disciplinary  development   of  their students. However, in middle school, as academic rigor increases,   teachers start to specialize.   As   such,   you can expect that your child will have different teachers for English, Math, Science,

etc. rather than the same one. This enables your student to take more advanced classes and have access to more specialized teaching, but also requires them to be more organized and responsible when it comes to managing their time. 

2) School May Introduce GPA  - GPA, or grade point average, is a number  that  indicates   how  well  or  how  poorly your   child   is   performing   on   average, across all their subjects.   In   the   American   system,   4.0   is  the highest GPA possible (a   “straight   A”   student),   whereas   in   IB   MYP (middle years programme), a “7” in each class is the highest score possible, with 56 being a perfect score across all subjects. Generally speaking, students need at least a 2.0 in the American system or a 28 (with no class being lower than a  3)   in  the   MYP   system   in   order   to   proceed   to   the   next   level.   Either   way, between elementary school and middle school, grades go from descriptive (excellent, satisfactory etc.) to numerical.

3) Relationships Grow and MatureCrimson   Rise has identified grade 6 as “the year of building relationships,” largely because it involves asking students to develop a relationship with their Crimson mentors, building essential conversation skills. At   this  age,   student   start   to   envision  their  future  in  high  school,

college,   and   beyond   in   a   more   realistic   manner - what are their genuine passions and interests? What are their natural skills? As   relationships   grow   and   mature,   so   does your middle school student’s  worldview. During this time, Parents   should   strive   to   teach their children how to recognize   value   in working   on   their   academic,   extracurricular,   and   personal   development.

4) Puberty  –   From   the   growth   spurts   to   changes   specific   to   your   child’s biological sex, puberty generally hits from 8-13 in females and 9-14 in males. Middle school is the prime period for growth spurts, crushes on classmates, menstruation to occur in females, amongst  many  other changes. As  such, your  child might undergo periods of time in which they are not feeling comfortable in their own skin, or feeling as if they can’t keep   up   with   the   changes. Making   sure  your   child  has healthy,   nutritious   food,   solid   role   models   and   mentors,   and   that   they understand the biological reasons behind these changes makes this process a lot easier.  At   Crimson   Rise,   our   strategists teach   the   scientific   reasons   behind these  cognitive   changes   to   help support this unique stage of students’ lives.

5) Independence and Responsibility – Spiderman says it best: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Perhaps your child wants to see a movie with a friend and there’s no longer a need for a parental chaperone, or maybe they believe they can set their own bedtime, decorate their room a certain way, or start to explore their individual style through different clothes or hairstyles. While this is all normal, ensuring that you maintain healthy boundaries with your child so that they can both explore their identity and still get the sleep and nutrition they need is crucial. It is a delicate balance: students should motivated to take   control   of   their   own   lives,   but   also still  be   provided   with   a   safety   net, guidance,   wisdom,   and   support   on   how   to   go   about   it.   Our   Crimson   Rise program helps students learn study habits, time management, and lets them explore   new   hobbies   in   healthy   ways.


All this in mind, students definitely have a sharp learning curve to face as   they   transition   from   elementary   to   middle   school,   and   a   lot   of   growing-up happens along the way! However, it should also be noted that middle school is still a time for exploration and holistic development, something that our Rise strategists highlight during the Crimson Rise program, the world’s only middle school prep program of its kind. This is an age to develop relationships, build independence, and   develop   skills.   Only   the   last   four   years   of   grade   school   (the   high   school years) get reported to universities during application. So while it is not time to panic (yet!), slowly putting your child on the right path for their unique gifts to be explored further is what middle school is all about.   

Your friendly neighbourhood Rise blogger, 

Gala

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Learn more about Crimson Rise’s strategic mentorship, academic support, and extracurricular coaching for young students, and request a free consultation on your child’s journey!