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How is middle school different from elementary school?

Parents can help children progress through transition between elementary and middle school by gathering information about the middle school and staying involved. Communication between parent and child is very important, especially at this time. Parents should make a point to discuss the changes that will occur at school to ease any feelings of uncertainty that a child may have. Some of the key differences between elementary and middle school that students face when making the transition include:

  • More students at the school and in classes. Even though middle schools generally only have three grades (6th-8th grade), the classes tend to be larger than those in elementary schools. Each grade level may have hundreds of students from different elementary schools. Your child will be in classes with more students, which could mean that each child may receive less personal attention from teachers.

  • Changing classes and more teachers. In middle school, your child may have up to six different teachers and will have to change classes with each subject.

  • New curriculum. As in elementary school, middle school curriculum is guided by state standards. These standards outline what is taught and what basic skills your child will develop in each grade level.

  • New school schedule. As stated above, your child may have to change classes up to six times during the day. This new schedule also includes different break and lunch times than your child may have had in elementary school. Get a copy of the school schedule at your child's middle school to help prepare them for this new schedule.

  • More after-school activities and programs. Middle schools tend to offer more social and academic learning options and/or activities for children after the regular school hours. Check with your child's middle school to see what is available for him/her.

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