When deciding what type of learning environment will best serve your child, there are obviously many considerations: academic rigor, course offerings, educational philosophy, sense of community, extracurriculars, etc. However, sometimes lost in the decision-making process is the educational structure of the grade levels themselves.
Many larger schools and districts physically separate their students into elementary schools (usually K-5), middle schools (typically grades 6-8), and high schools (grades 9-12) due to space limitations and in order to operate efficiently. While such a setup works for some students and families, others express concern, especially at the middle school level, with the sheer size of the student body and a lack of feeling connected both on a student and family level.
That concern is understandable. Middle school is a time when students are going through many transitions socially, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and academically. It is a stage in life unlike any other. Students are exploring their independence and defining their sense of self in relation to others. They need to feel connected to the adults they interact with on a daily basis and be given opportunities to serve as positive role models themselves.
A self-contained K-8 school provides such a learning environment and offers many benefits, including:
- Students who start in kindergarten are known by teachers and parents as they progress throughout the grade levels.
This enables students to have a sense of belonging and being known. It also gives students and their parents a strong sense of community and support and an ease of access to teachers as both parents and teachers partner together to help students. Socially, students are able to develop lasting friendships. Spiritually, through weekly chapels and small groups led by teachers and parents, students explore and solidify their faith foundation through discussions with trusted adult role models.
- K-8 schools are often smaller in size, enabling teachers to better identify student needs.
This results in fewer students falling through the cracks. At Brookfield Christian, our teachers, Resource teacher, and Student Support Team are able to work effectively and flexibly to identify and address learning needs.
- More students have opportunities to be involved in activities.
For example middle school students at Brookfield Christian may choose to play sports and/or perform in the band. All students in 6th-8th grades participate in a speech competition/showcase, a music festival, choir, art, service-learning, and a musical. Having students engage in these activities is beneficial because it provides students with an opportunity to develop and display skills that they may otherwise never explore had they been in a larger school setting.
- Students have a sense of independence but are still connected to the larger student community.
The middle school students at Brookfield Christian have block schedules for their subject area instruction and change classes, an important part of preparing them for high school, but they still cross paths and interact with lower grade students on a daily basis. This builds character and serves as a reminder of the need for students in the 6th-8th grade levels to serve as role models for the younger students. In addition, all school Unity Group chapels, dress rehearsal performances, and book shares, among other things, provides the older students with the opportunity to engage with students in the elementary grades and hone their leadership skills.
All of these benefits lead to an overall sense of confidence that translates well as students transition to high school. As our graduate surveys consistently show, students from Brookfield Christian are prepared to succeed in high school whether they attend high schools large or small, public or private.
When considering a school for your child, we encourage you to visit Brookfield Christian School to see what we have to offer. Our self-contained PreK-8 model offers many educational benefits for you and your child(ren). Contact us to schedule a tour today.