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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 Mature - Crimson 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,
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!