Surprisingly the foundation for lifelong learning is established in the formative school years as an elementary and middle school student. The Rand Study and National Middle School Association Study demonstrated that this school model “enhances academic, social and emotional development while bringing about improved self-esteem and confidence.” At The Branch School, we take this very seriously. We have seen time and time again that attending a school that serves only the preschool – eighth grade years allows the school to focus on the academic, emotional and social needs of these students. There is no conflict between the resources needed for a high school program and the necessary resources for a preschool – eighth grade program. The influence felt by having a high school on campus is eliminated, and children can remain younger longer.
These early developmental years are a time to build strong social and emotional skills. Students at a preschool – eighth grade school experience less bullying and develop a strong sense of leadership as they have become student body leaders in middle school. At The Branch School, we have found that our Middle School students step up and accept greater responsibility and look for opportunities to interact and help the younger students on campus. Leadership roles and models are available at a younger age and allow for hands-on learning about how to make your ideas known and how to motivate others to team, help and follow. This gives them maturity and purpose as they move into high school. They leave confident and happy ready to explore a new school and continue to be leaders.
Similar to the leadership opportunities accessible to students the academic assets and the younger atmosphere available to students who attend preschool – eighth grade schools allow students to soar and explore without being overshadowed by high school students. This simple fact allows students to bloom and the results are seen in better grades and greater confidence in their ability to learn and their ability to explore new ideas. Failure is seen as a part of the learning experience and is not feared but welcomed. At The Branch School, we see this through the enthusiasm with which our students embrace our project-based learning opportunities and participate in group discussions.
The years spent in an early education environment also see the development of a learning style and recreational interests. By the start of their 8th-grade year, faculty and parents can provide specific guidance on the best fit high schools in the area. At The Branch School, we have a particular counselor who walks students and families through the entire high school admissions process.
Applying to high schools and transitioning to another school in eighth grade allows students to move into a new school environment with the support of parents and family. The entire experience is a practice run for college applications and college transitions. A chance to plant the seeds needed to flourish later in life.
Why choose a preschool – eighth grade education? Because sending your child to this type of school produces confident leaders, life-long learners and happier children. At The Branch School, we see this every day.