The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action. -John Dewey
Presbyterian School sixth grade focuses on helping each student assemble the “toolkit” necessary to become a successful learner for the years ahead. As John Dewey promotes in the quote above, students do not arrive at school ready-made. Rather, students engage in the learning process to gain understanding through exploration, learning from mistakes more than easily succeeding. Unique to our community, our sixth grade courses facilitate executive function and logical thought, promoting a growth mindset for learning strategies while mixing in concepts from our Think.Make.Talk. paradigm. The sixth grade program introduces each student to four main threads of neural development:
- Making Observations and Drawing Conclusions
- Planning and Organization
- Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
Children thrive in our program because we provide a safe place to expand knowledge while taking risks on concepts that stretch perspective and processes. We share with each child an expectation for perseverance through the midst of challenging curricular goals rooted in observation and reflection.
Our sixth grade curriculum emphasizes the value a person can bring to a community as students explore the foundations of learning through a lens of personal and social identity. Students learn to step into the shoes of someone else, from a literary character to a historical civilization to a scientist to a classmate. Students engage in a journey of personal discovery, and gain the skills needed to become savvy navigators of this journey. Utilizing a custom-tailored study skills curriculum, 6th graders will enhance their executive functioning abilities as well as their approach to effective, personalized learning.
Character Development: Advisory & Squads
All students are assigned to an advisor. The middle school promotes character development through daily connection to a charismatic adult with reflection serving as a key to personal development. In addition to advisory, a fun, community, leadership-minded house system, which we call Squads. The Squad program distributes all middle school students and teachers into four distinct groups that focus on collaboration, construction, competition, and fun. Older kids counsel younger and faculty members guide teams towards building community and unifying our incredible school culture.
Place-Based Learning: Museum Partnerships
While our classrooms begin in the somewhat traditional sense, the Presbyterian School classroom extends its boundaries into the many incredible museum resources Our faculty utilizes permanent and special exhibits to enhance the curriculum, spending time in the museums. The opportunity to deepen our learning by walking to new and exciting spaces right outside our walls vastly enhances the programming we can offer to middle school students.
The Power of Play: P.E., Fitness & Athletics
As a way to focus on the mind, body, and spirit of a middle school child, Presbyterian School facilitates intentional time for structured and unstructured play. 6th grade students attend P.E. and Fitness classes which include cross training to improve cardiovascular health and agility. Our no-cut athletics program after school is open to all 6th grade students and offers over 15 teams in 10 sports.
Spiritual Growth: Bible & Chapel
We invest in each child’s spiritual development through Bible class every other day. Our faculty offers the consistent message of sound character as supported by our school's Core Values: respect, perseverance, courage, compassion, gratitude, and integrity. Middle School students have opportunities to learn God's word, talk about current issues, and dive into matters of the heart in Bible Class and lunchtime bible studies. Students also attend a weekly chapel to worship together as a Middle School.
Confidence in every Child
Middle School students at Presbyterian School are expected to demonstrate their learning by creating, collaborating, and presenting. Students grow as a result of intentional reflection and challenging goals for improvement. Our Classroom Learning Cycle focuses beyond “what we know” and challenges students to think about “what we do with what we know.”