The Transition from Elementary School to Middle School Can Be Really Hard
NorthPointe Christian Schools recognizes the unique challenges facing adolescent-aged students.
“Adolescence is a tough time for kids and we often rush them into the middle school setting when kids aren’t fully ready,” said NorthPointe Middle School Principal Megan Willink.
That is why NorthPointe Christian Schools launched their unique 6th Grade Bridge Year. The 6th Grade Bridge Year was designed to address the challenges students face when they move from elementary to middle school, while equipping students as they prepare for adulthood.
Students are officially part of the NorthPointe Middle School student body, while also experiencing the benefits of a self-contained primary classroom teacher during the Bridge Year.
“The self-contained classroom setting allows for that nurture piece, which is so important for students growing and changing into adolescence,” commented Principal Willink.
Sixth graders spend the majority of their day with their homeroom teacher. These teachers lovingly guide 6th grade students through the academic rigor of middle school and the emotional and social challenges that arrive with adolescence.
“We find that when students are supported emotionally and relationally, they are more capable of rising to the academic challenges we put before them and we see students taking even more ownership of their learning,” says Willink.
Sixth Graders Crave Connection and Belonging
NorthPointe recognizes that young people have a powerful need to belong. Each student in 6th grade is assigned to a Small Group led by adult mentors or high school seniors.
The goal of the Small Group is to help students develop a circle of friends that can help them look more closely at the world and help them learn to distinguish right from wrong. Within this context, they can find a deep sense of belonging and support system as they navigate the challenges of middle school.
What Else Makes the 6th Grade Bridge Year Curriculum Unique?
NorthPointe’s 6th grade curriculum includes several distinct features such as a multi-disciplinary unit on hunger awareness, coined “Empty Bowls”, a 6th grade class trip, service projects, January term of unique courses, and a 6th grade play with full class participation.
The supportive 6th grade teachers help assist their students in learning not only academic subjects, but also important, practical life skills. For instance, they offer a Wednesday after-school program where students can stay after school and their teacher will help them learn organizational and study skills. They do things like organizing their backpack or locker, working on setting a weekly study schedule, etc.
In addition, their 6th graders participate in a Middle School Marketplace, a unique unit where students learn entrepreneurship, economics, and citizenship concepts as they create a live business. The 6th grade students are paired with 7th and 8th grade leaders who lead a team through this authentic business creation.
NorthPointe Middle School students love the Marketplace unit. Students have given the school great feedback. Here’s what a few of them said about it:
“I loved working with my company! It was so fun getting to know a 7th and 8th grader. I feel like we became a family.” -6th grade NorthPointe student
“Working with the other middle school kids in 7th and 8th grade made me want to get my work done for our business. They also helped me make decisions and were really encouraging.” -6th grade NorthPointe student
Are You a Parent of an Upcoming Middle School Student?
If your child is approaching their middle school years, be sure to check out NorthPointe Christian Schools. Adolescence is a challenging time, but the transition to middle school does not have to be so hard. NorthPointe’s 6th Grade Bridge Year allows 6th grade kids to ease into middle school in a safe, caring, supportive environment. Learn more HERE.