Middle School Program
We believe middle school and early adolescence offer a wonderful opportunity to ignite students’ imagination and curiosity during a time of great change, much excitement, and many challenges. A successful middle school experience is essential for students to remain academically engaged and challenged as they journey into young adulthood.
The middle grades program builds upon what we also offer in the elementary and preschool programs: small, multi-age classes, a focus on critical thinking and academic engagement, opportunities for independence and leadership, and an explicit commitment to social and emotional learning. Each of these elements is important to students’ success.
- enjoy learning that is challenging, relevant, and interconnected.
- value opportunities to work both independently and collaboratively.
- benefit from a curriculum that supports deep learning and self
expression, whether writing in field journals, conducting research
projects, or expressing themselves through art, literature, or music.
Outside the Box, Outside the Classroom
The Schoolhouse middle school program combines structured academic learning in the fundamentals—math, language arts, science, social studies, and foreign language—with field-based activities in the broader community and in the natural world.
Field experiences naturally interweave with classroom activities and spawn new
ideas and inquiry. Students take a lead in their own learning and, with the guidance
of our middle school teachers, the curriculum becomes organically integrated and
Field-based activities might include:
- working with local farmers.
- planning wetlands restoration projects with local experts.
- designing studies and conducting research with scientists at
the University of Vermont.
- connecting with local charities about food insecurity and
homelessness, and organizing activities to advocate for change.
Healthy Growth Requires Strong Roots
At a time in their lives when they need freedom and new challenges, middle school students also benefit from secure relationships and a safe space to grow into new roles as leaders and mentors. Although our middle school curriculum is independent of the elementary program, the two remain firmly connected.
Students of all ages share lunch and recess together. Several times a week, the Deltas join the all-school circle meeting that begins and ends each day. Older students are able to continue their relationships with younger friends and—just as importantly—with teachers in all grade levels. Deltas, like their elementary peers, share responsibility for the whole school space; they have daily jobs, including collecting the recycling and compost from the kitchen and classrooms.
Leaders & Mentors
Deltas step into more formal leadership
and mentoring roles with the younger students. For example, they are reading buddies with children in the preschool program. Each Delta is partnered with a single preschooler for the whole year; they get to know each other well. The Deltas model a love of reading, and they learn about emergent literacy along the way.
Deltas also schedule time to present their research topics to the younger students, often using handmade or electronically-made visuals and slideshow presentations. It’s a great opportunity for public speaking and information sharing in a supportive environment. They also act as curious explorers during the elementary school’s annual science display day, encouraging the younger students and asking fun and insightful questions.