Middle School Grades 6-8

Sixth Grade

The curriculum of the sixth grade offers support and nourishment for the adolescent child experiencing his twelve-year-change by offering students examples of order created from chaos and harmony from disharmony. Observation is emphasized as a balance to the natural pull of asserting one’s own judgment and opinion. As the sixth grader experiences this inner pull of asserting her own opinion, preference, judgment and expectation of the world, the curriculum meets these pulls with the force of new challenges to her thinking through all aspects of the curriculum.

Seventh Grade

The seventh grade signals a very important change in the development of the child. Externally, the body is usually in the throes of puberty, while internally, the new force of intellect is born.

The curriculum appropriately mirrors this development with the theme of the Renaissance. The pre-adolescent is somewhat conflicted, wanting to be accepted by the group while at the same time desiring to be recognized as an individual. These students, much like their Renaissance counterparts, want to break free from traditional restraints and to explore and discover life on their own. The curriculum integration continues to reinforce the moral responsibility that comes with individual freedom through the biographies of individuals whose adventures and challenges parallel the yearnings that are present in the students.

In the spirit of the Renaissance, the year is often begun with perspective drawing. The laws of perspective drawing were indicative of an evolutionary step in man’s development. This step was the ability to look outside oneself and begin to interpret the laws of nature. The students begin by drawing freehand and then eventually with the aid of tools. Students complete a variety of exercises that demonstrate their mastery of vanishing points, converging lines, interpolation and extrapolation, creating the illusion of a three-dimensional space on a two dimensional paper.

Eighth Grade

Eighth grade is the culminating year in our school and it is seen as a crowning year. The students are more deeply immersed into adolescence and are met with a curriculum which nourishes their growing curiosity, competence, and thinking while supporting the challenges and wonders they may be experiencing as individuals.

The eighth grade curriculum is designed to help the students know the modern world: from history to science to literature; the aim is to help the thirteen and fourteen year-olds feel at home in the present world with their emerging individualities. They become familiar with the world through history, literature, geography, and science, and achieve a level of expertise in various skills that allows them to walk ‘into’ the world with confidence. They will usually have regained the emotional balance they had lost in the sixth or seventh grade, and will end the eighth grade year filled with gratitude for the past eight years and enthusiasm for the coming challenges of high school.

Eighth grade projects are a significant part of the eighth grade experience. The projects commence in August and culminate in March. Each student receives the requirements for the project at the end of seventh grade and each student is allowed to choose their topic of choice with class teacher oversight. As part of the project, students are required to seek, secure and work with a mentor who is experienced within the area of their topic. The project consists of three parts: a written research paper, an oral presentation, and the creation of a physical “product.” Examples of these projects include building a Tesla Coil, making a guitar, directing a play, writing and performing a monologue, and creating a work of art.

The culminating experience for the eighth grade is the eighth grade class trip. The students and chaperons typically travel for one week. The experiences vary widely depending on the class.

Some classes have experienced sailing on a tall ship in British Columbia, or sailing in the Florida Keys or spending a week traveling to historic sites in Boston. The time is spent working together, reminiscing the past eight years and talking about future plans. Often a service project is included in the trip.