Middle School Journey

By Amanda Bertschinger,

  Filed under: Middle School

Middle School at St John’s continues the education of the heart for each child – here they are known and loved. This critical stage of learning is so important because of the characteristics of young adolescence; a time of rapid change across many domains where future dispositions – ones we take into adulthood – are formed. As such, the Middle School team work to optimise this development by driving a culture where students are engaged and challenged, they want to learn and live that mindset for lifelong learning, are developing self-awareness, growing a sense of agency and optimism about their future and ultimately to live a life of meaning beyond simply themselves.

We are continually refining the experience and I encourage you to think of the three-year journey encompassing the themes of Belong, Build and Become.

Our practices, programs and signature experiences for Year 7 – our newest students – are centred around really feeling that sense of belonging – that this is their school and they want to embrace the opportunity and make the most of it. Highlights of the Year 7 program that foster this sense of belonging include:

  • Transition and induction series
  • Layers of care provided with Home Group, House and Buddies
  • Wings Wellbeing program where students are taught the tools to live well
  • Core team of subject specialists right from the beginning
  • Holistic curriculum covering core and specialist subjects including Philosophy
  • Enrichment and acceleration provision from the first year of Middle School, including access to the Frequent Flyers suite of pursuits
  • Outdoor education challenge week at Hindmarsh Island
  • Interdisciplinary glider design and flight project
  • Enterprise case study
  • Environmental rehabilitation project

This builds into Year 8 where students truly are Building as they develop self-awareness, skill and products and ideas:

  •  Elective program
  •  Y8 Innov8 creativity and innovation project
  •  Expedition along the Murray
  •  Leadership program
  •  STEM experience
  •  Physical and mental fitness build

Year 9 is then the year to Become. With our St John’s adaptation of The Rite Journey program, in alignment with our students’ needs as the critical thread, each young adolescent is supported to complete the Middle School years and become. They know that learning matters, that school is fun – they have a mindset for lifelong learning and action:

  • Calling and Departure Ceremony
  • External mentor program
  • International experience opportunities in Vietnam and Japan
  • Abyss challenge in the Flinders Ranges including the Solo experience
  • Community service and connection
  • Homecoming and Taking Flight Celebrations

…and then there’s everything else I haven’t mentioned! Indeed, the program and opportunities for each young adolescent has never been richer in our Middle School. We are continually taking in data and research to refine and perfect our provision and practices to address the needs of now and prepare as best we can, our students for their futures. As always, I encourage collaboration with you as we work with each child to build a life of meaning.

Ben Clark

Head of Middle School