Wood Acres purposefully does not refer to grades six, seven, and eight as Middle School or include fifth grade in the Grammar School. Fifth grade serves as a transition into the Upper School as students apply their Grammar School skills to the challenges of learning that has less to do with the right answers than it does with asking the right questions and voraciously seeking as much knowledge as possible in core subjects.
Wood Acres faculty bristles at the notion that students in these grades need volumes of rules to control them physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. Our Upper School program is firmly rooted in the premise that the very personality traits of these learners- challenge emotionality, defiance, and questioning serve positive roles in a child’s education.
Do not let this give one the impression that we do not hold the highest deportment standards for these young leaders. Wood Acres graduates will practice philanthropy, fairness, academic integrity, and a strong work ethic in their continuing educational journey.
What begins at the end and ends at the beginning? That would be the exciting transitional fifth grade year at Wood Acres. The first few months of the fifth grade serve as the capstone learning experience for the Grammar School while ending in the spring with the beginning experiences of the Upper School in terms of both academics and school community activities. This pivotal year is enhanced with a strong, well- researched curriculum, superior teaching techniques, and activities geared to both support and stretch the fifth grade student. Students will experience some departmentalization of curriculum content areas while having the security of a home base teacher who instructs them in the core curriculum as well. A continuation of the now famous Wood Acres overnight field trip adventures and community service work geared especially for them complete the circle of teaching and learning for each student.
While fifth grade positions itself as a transitional year between the Grammar School and the Upper School, sixth graders find themselves from day one in a different academic and social environment. Student lockers, more student liberties coupled with more student responsibilities, and a longer academic day are just a few of the changes that help define a young adult’s education at Wood Acres. An accelerated curriculum and top caliber materials drive our academic program with special attention to the unique developmental needs of young men and women in their ‘tweens’. Sixth graders must embrace their need for answers to the many “whys” that result during study as well as ample time for them to be heard. Students at this age sort through maturing thought processes that on occasion revert to a much younger age. Learning must matter to a sixth grader before they will embrace the challenge that comes with advanced curriculum. Our experience is that Wood Acres students can do just that guided by outstanding faculty, well-developed academic studies, and support at home.
Seventh grade is the “crossover” grade. For the first time, students are closer to their high school graduation than they are to their early days in Kindergarten. Everything is maturing; everything is changing; everything can be overwhelming. Never has there been a more important time for strengthened home-school connections. Wood Acres curriculum reflects more strongly than ever the importance of careful attention to a student’s total education- academic, social, emotional, and physical.
You have arrived at the top of the heap, you are king of the hill, and queen of the land and the most senior Upper School classman on the Wood Acres campus. Eighth grade is the capstone year. Visions of high school and “the rest of my life” loom large in the minds of eighth graders and their parents. Serenity about completing eighth grade on campus confronts the inner turmoil that comes with a certain “coming of age.” “What do you want to be” no longer warrants the cute childlike response, but a much more real-world consideration of the choices “out there.”