Why Middle School Is So Important For Your Child’s Development
Did you know that research indicates that students at risk of dropping out of school can be identified as early as sixth grade? In fact, research indicates that sixth-graders who display even one of the off-track indicators, such as a failing grade in mathematics or an unsatisfactory behavior mark in a core course, have only a 15 to 25 percent chance of graduating on time. This means, among other things, that middle school should be recognized as a critical transition period for your child from an academic and social-emotional standpoint.
In this brief article, we’ll review why middle school is so important for the development of your child in terms of academic achievement, emotional growth, and more. If you’re looking for a private middle school in Clearwater, FL, that will foster academic excellence, integrity, and empathy in your child, choose Lakeside Christian School.
The Developmental Needs of Early Adolescence Can Be Very Complex
Early adolescence has long since been recognized as a critical stage for an individual’s development and learning, with positive effects lasting long into adulthood. However, recent research studies have identified adolescence as a second critical window for brain development as well. Changes in students’ bodies and brains during this period affect how they will learn for the rest of their lives.
What this means is that, during middle school, students must enjoy a wide variety of engaging and rigorous learning opportunities, or they may face restricted brain development down the line. The more students engage in these types of learning experiences, such as solving complex problems or connecting information learned in school with their own experiences, the more their brain cells will grow. These rich learning experiences should always connect academic learning to the student’s personal interests, prior knowledge, past experiences, and current events to capitalize on their increased ability to retain personally relevant information.
Middle School Students Actively Seek Positive Role Models
Research findings consistently indicate that adolescents who can identify at least one positive role model in their lives have higher grades and self-esteem than those who cannot, particularly when the adolescent knows their role model on a personal level. In addition to these benefits, positive role models have also been shown to decrease adolescents’ risk for harmful behaviors, such as sexual intercourse, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and more. Unfortunately, only one-fourth of students report having a positive adult role model in their lives, either having no one to look up to or having to look up to someone making negative choices in their life.
As such, middle schools need to be places where students can be exposed to positive role models, whether it’s educators, administration, parent volunteers, or business and community leaders. At Lakeside Christian School, one of the private middle schools in Clearwater, FL, for example, each and every one of our educators is involved in teaching Bible studies and/or participating somewhere within the ministry in Christian education, and they are ACSI Certified. They’re willing to do whatever it takes to eliminate academic gaps, propel their students forward, and serve as a positive role model in the lives of their students.
Middle School Should Provide a Tailored Learning Environment
Last but not least, middle schoolers need learning environments that will ignite their curiosity and empower them to be active participants in their school and community. Rather than listening to lectures or just doing worksheets, they should be performing hands-on activities that ensure they stay excited and enthusiastic about learning. This means stepping away from the middle school classrooms that emulate high school classrooms, elementary classrooms, or some haphazard combination. What these students will benefit most from is a place that has been specifically designed for their unique physical, social, emotional, and academic needs. For more information on the only private middle school in Clearwater, FL, that can meet your child’s developmental needs, contact Lakeside Christian School.
If you would like to learn more about Lakeside Christian School, one of the best private middle schools in Clearwater, FL, please give us a call at (727) 239-7808 or schedule a tour of our campus.