Middle School is a learning neighbourhood for Years 7-9. In bringing this specific age group together, it allows learners to make a strong, supported transition from Primary School, and sets them up for a smooth and confident transition into their Green School Diploma years which begin in Year 10.
Lead teacher, Charlie Maddox, says the Middle School years focus on developing learners’ critical thinking skills – learning to question, challenge and discover answers and solutions for themselves.
“The programme is structured and delivered in a way that leverages the natural desire of this age group to become independent thinkers, to work well with friends and peers, and to discover rather than to be ‘told’.
“It also has a strong focus on the social and emotional development of children. We refer to it as a time when they are ‘Crossing the Bridge’ from childhood into adulthood, and we want to ensure the support for that transition is very strong.”
Central to the Middle School curriculum is its Koru Programme (wellness), where mindset growth, coping mechanisms, strengthening support networks and building resilience is explored. With wellbeing at the centre, learners are able to thrive when it comes to proficiency learning, outdoor education, green studies and its Voyage programme – investigative project learning that stems from the United Nations Sustainability Goals.
Whaea Charlie says Term 3 has so far been a busy one full of experiential, hands-on learning designed to develop the knowledge and skills of each learner through purposeful and practical projects.
Hikoi (outdoor education) has been based around climbing and navigating. From learning safe belay techniques and climbing movements, to orienteering and fitness in time for the upcoming cross country. Literacy and maths have formed the basis of many hands-on learning experiences, while investigating water cycles on a local and global level and applying their findings to today’s world has been the focus of Green Studies.
“Through our Voyage we have been learning the definitions of peace and conflict, how people in Aotearoa are connected to the land, about Dame Whina Cooper and the Māori land marches, the importance of Parihaka and the passive resistance movement, while also developing “peace-building’ skills in our learners.
“At Green School we certainly teach what is taught in more common curriculums, but the major difference at Green School is not what, but how we teach. Our aim is to teach subjects in a way that will positively benefit each individual learner, while also equipping them with the key knowledge they need to succeed in this fast-paced world we live in, while being mindful of the environment and each other.”
In the last year of Middle School, Year 9, learners really take action through their Quest projects. This is a self-motivated passion project, decided upon and fully implemented by the learner themselves. Each project must have an aspect of environmental or societal sustainability to it, and is presented to the Green School community via a TED-style talk in Term 4.
“It is the perfect culmination of their Middle School learning as they look to move on and succeed in the Green School Diploma programme,” says Whaea Charlie.
Below is video about our Quest projects that focuses on a project from one of our 2021 Year 9 learners. Stay tuned to find out what the school’s 2022 cohort of Year 9s have to say!