The middle-school years are a formative period for all students. During this time, children undergo a host of physical, mental and emotional transitions. As their sense of independence begins to flourish and grow, the talents and personality of each child make themselves more known. Here are four critical reasons that illustrate why middle school builds the foundation of a child’s independence.
Course Electives and Activities
A variety of activities in the middle-school curriculum is a key contributing factor to a student being able to discover their individual interests and preferences. As middle-school students are given more flexibility to take elective courses of their choosing or participate in afterschool sports or other extracurricular activities, their personality will be given a chance to shine. With the proper exposure, electives and activities can enrich a student’s life in myriad ways.
As most children move to a bigger middle school from a more intimate elementary classroom setting, their world suddenly becomes much larger. For this reason, the social skills at this age are ripe to expand. As children gain more independence from their parents, they will begin to form their own friendships and connections that they will be able to take with them throughout their schooling years and grow internally as people.
Now is the time for parents to step back a bit and let their child own up to their responsibilities. Children need to learn to be accountable for both their grades and all of their decisions. Middle school is the ideal time to begin giving this independence and sense of ownership to the individual student. Although it can be difficult as a parent to step back, this process is imperative for the sequential development of a child’s emotional and mental well-being.
In addition to taking accountability for their learning, middle-school students need to use this time in life to learn necessary life skills. For example, this is the right age to teach children healthy eating habits, the importance of good hygiene, how to handle money in small amounts, and how to take responsibility for their words and actions. Being taught these valuable life skills will serve students in immeasurable ways down the road of life.
Although this time can present real challenges, it is also an exciting time in the development of a young mind. With the proper support at home and the right guidance, your child can flourish during these formative middle-school years.