The transition to the Middle School ignites independence in our boys. The student leave a contained classroom and are introduced to a semi-contained classroom for the fourth and fifth graders. This scaffolding prepares the sixth graders for more independences as they shift to a schedule in which they participate in an eight period academic day followed by a study hall and then sports. Further independence is fostered via the advisor program which begins in the sixth grade and continues through Upper School.
The project based learning fosters collaboration, creativity, and leadership skills. The boys work on individual as well as group projects in all subject areas. This growth mindset activity proposes a problem in which students are encouraged to find a solution. This growth happens when boys are stretched beyond their comfort zone.
In his article in Independent School Magazine, John Stephens, Head of Middle School at Fort Worth Country Day, recommends to his parents Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak as a source to help them better understand their middle school boys. He writes, “In Sendak’s book, the protagonist, Max, who looks like a typical fourth or fifth grader to me, and his posse of beasts ‘roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth, rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws.’ In short, they behaved like a lot of middle schoolers I know.”