The PK-8 Advantage
Among the myriad of educational options with which parents are confronted is the decision of which type of program to enroll their children. Beyond the decision of public vs private and independent vs parochial is yet another decision to be made. Should the school be strictly limited to elementary? Should it be Kindergarten through eighth grade? How about the one-stop shop convenience of Kindergarten through twelfth grade? Is one model better than another?
As it turns out, while there are certainly examples of successful schools of every kind, the research that has been done seems to suggest that the Kindergarten through eighth grade model provides real benefits.
Among the positive features of the K-8 approach are the opportunities for sixth, seventh and eighth grade students to assume leadership roles. Whether they are reading to the younger children or having lunch with them, pairing up tweens with younger students not only reminds them just how far they’ve matured, but it also offers them an opportunity to assume a position of authority and respect. They are able to teach the younger students lessons that, to the younger children, are fascinating and new, and to the older students, are familiar and comfortable. Each group benefits from these interactions.
Another beneficial feature of the K – 8 model is that it provides stability and comfort to older students at the very moment in their young lives when their worlds seem to be changing in a number of unfamiliar ways. Interestingly, one of the reasons that separate middle schools rose in popularity was the belief that children moving through adolescence needed support to help them transition from elementary school into high school. However, what researchers have discovered in the decades since middle schools proliferated, is that transitioning into middle school and then again into high school has a significant negative impact on student performance. At the same time, there is certainly a need to start introducing this age group to new ways of conducting themselves, including moving among different classrooms throughout the day and having multiple teachers provide more in-depth expertise in the subjects studied. The advantage of introducing these changes within a K-8 school is that students can experience these sorts of changes in an environment that they recognize and find supportive.
A third benefit of the K-8 model is that it offers safety and familiarity at a time when middle school age children often find themselves feeling uncertain and insecure. Placing this group in the shadow of more mature high school students can often increase the younger group’s feelings of uneasiness. They may either shrink away into a corner, hoping not to be seen; or they might venture out in an effort to “fit in” with the older crowd, even before they truly understand the implications of what that group is doing. However, when this same group is the oldest age group within a school, they feel more able to take cautious and gradual steps forward, but all the while knowing that they are surrounded by a caring and supportive environment.
While no one approach is a perfect fit for every student, the opportunities to demonstrate leadership while gradually transitioning from elementary to high school that exist in the nurturing environment of a K-8 school, are certainly worthy of serious consideration. We have on of the premiere preschool's in Pottstown, PA, and the students that continued their PK-8 education with Wyndcroft have succeeded in a variety of high schools, colleges and professional positions.
If you've been looking for a top-notch kindergarten near Reading, PA, to enroll your child in, look no further then The Wyndcroft School. Whether students start in our lower school, or upper school program, the education and life-skills they receive is unparalleled to any other PK-8 institution across Pennsylvania!
Anatomy of a Wyndcroft Graduate
- Loves learning
- Sense of gratitude
- Concern for others
- Socially responsible
- Values education
- Well prepared
- Strong character
- Engage, active, curious
- Builds authentic relationships
- Part of a true community
- Verbal eloquence
- Mastery in mathematics
- Uses technology as a tool
- Unparalleled work ethic
- Commitment to hard work
- Leadership skills
- Well mannered