Menaul’s Middle School is a program crafted to meet the developmental needs of early adolescents. While the Middle School years can be a turbulent time for many children and their families, it’s also a time of profound opportunity to help students develop into strong students, caring friends, and responsible community members.
William Alexander, an early proponent of middle schools, laid out a list of developmental needs of particular concern to students in this life stage, and the Middle School faculty have used this list as a template for planning the daily and yearly rhythms of life in the Middle School. The needs of early adolescents include greater freedom of movement, more chances to plan and manage their own activities, opportunities to develop new interests and hopes, health and physical education that address the needs of changing bodies and minds, exploratory experiences, and support for students as they experience the bumps along the road to adulthood.
Using Alexander’s list as a guide, Menaul’s Middle School is expanding learning expeditions to put classroom learning into context within our community, including daily physical education classes in addition to time to move and play after lunch, adding Visual Arts to our midday Arts Block classes, adding nine-week elective courses for seventh and eighth graders, making time for learning support during the school day for students who need tutoring, and instituting personal and relationship health classes for seventh and eighth graders. We are also beginning an after-school care enrichment program, to extend the amount of supervised time for students on campus and to provide additional opportunities for academics, art, and social development. More than ever, we are helping our Middle School students build the habits and skills that support academic success, solid interpersonal relationships, and healthy engagement with the world around them.