Do you ever wonder why Green Hedges stops at Grade 8? Why not just add another building and stretch out to high school? There are good reasons to have middle schoolers at the top of our student pyramid.
Middle schoolers experience rapid growth and development in mind and body. For sure, they can be moody, sensitive and overly concerned with their appearance. They also, simultaneously, seek approval from adults yet push them away in order to mature. Twelve-, thirteen-, and fourteen-year-olds seek increasing levels of input and affirmation from their peers – sorry, Mom and Dad, your influence is not totally gone, but it is waning. During this time of rapid change, most middle schoolers are not yet secure enough in their self-image to mix appropriately with older teenagers socially, nor are those older children truly their peers. At Green Hedges, middle school students navigate the occasional awkward moments with less anxiety and at their own pace.
Furthermore, positive leadership is intentionally fostered among GHS middle schoolers, instilling a sense of empathy and responsibility at this formative age. This is why our older students are responsible for assisting younger students into school each morning, lead our Openings and Closings, and work together on community service projects that benefit others.
There is also evidence that putting middle schoolers at the top of the age ladder in a school helps to cut down on instances of actual and perceived bullying. For more information, see Sixth Grade is Tough; It Helps to be ‘Top Dog’ from NPR.
For parents and students, the middle school years can be daunting, but being in the right place can cut down on many worries. Green Hedges, with its decades of experience in this age group and what we believe to be the right model, helps make it a smooth transition for both parent and child.