The Children’s School’s preschool through grade 8 school structure recognizes the importance of these years and intentionally designs learning programs focusing on play and project-based learning that engage students and help build a strong foundation to set them up for future success in high school, college and beyond.
From preschool to elementary school and through the delicate years of adolescence in middle school, these pivotal years in a child’s life have a formative impact. In fact, a study by the American College of Testing found that building a strong academic foundation in the upper-elementary and middle school years has a larger impact on college and career readiness than anything that happens in high school.
“The beauty of an early learning through eighth grade school is that it allows our youngest students to see what they can grow up to be,” said TCS Head of School Roslyn Benjamin. “For our older students, it allows them to remember what it’s like to be a child because nurturing and preserving childhood is important.”
Combining the preschool, elementary and middle school years gives students time to mature and tap into their growing abilities while preserving their childlike sense of joy, wonder and curiosity by creating a space where students can take risks and make and learn from mistakes.
“An early learning through eighth grade program helps us build community and gives our students the opportunity to take risks in a way that are very different from other types of school environments,” said Roslyn. “You can make a mistake, you can learn from it, and you don’t have to worry about it staying with you as you grow up through the years.”
While the transition from elementary to middle school can be difficult for some young adolescents, our preschool through grade 8 school structure offers our students the gift of time to be known and to feel safe in that knowing, without interrupting their critical developmental period with a school change.
“Middle Grades are a time of so much change. Why would we turn them loose to face all of these trials at a new school after sixth grade? Eighth grade is a more natural place to end. Students are more prepared, more self-aware, and more secure in who they are as learners and people,” said TCS teacher, Middle Grades parent and alumna Sally Wood. Sally was on the Vision 2021 leadership team, a group of people who met over several months in 2015 to discuss expanding TCS to eighth grade.
In addition to the benefits of a strong early-educational foundation and the continuity and community provided at an early learning through grade 8 school like TCS, there are more leadership opportunities and ways for middle schoolers to use their voice at a preschool through eighth grade school as well.
“I’ve had these really big opportunities where I’m able to use my voice and speak on things that matter to me,” said eighth grader Canada Smith. “That will help me in high school, and later as an adult, to use my voice for things that matter.”
These school years go by quickly and soon students reach a point when it’s time to start thinking about high school and beyond.
“The Children’s School’s graduates are compassionate and confident leaders,” said Nicole Victor, director of enrollment management. “Our graduates thrive in a variety of academic environments and are competitive applicants to a diverse range of high schools because of the skills and qualities they learned during their time at TCS.”
When the time comes to choose a high school and eventually a college path, we know our graduates are well-equipped for a successful journey forward; ready to continue learning bravely with the confidence and purpose that they honed throughout their most formative years at TCS.