The Benefits of a Pre-K to 8 Education
At Green Acres, Middle School students experience this great combination of being leaders in their school community and of remaining children longer than they would if high school influences trickled down to them. Eighth graders get to practice leadership and are respected and relied upon for it. They develop their voices as young adolescents without being influenced by older adolescents. Having practiced these strengths and skills before entering high school is a real advantage. —Terri, P’12, ’08
Green Acres specializes in “the golden years” of childhood, honoring and keeping sacred these precious foundational years. In a culture where parents increasingly find that children too soon are confronted with mature, “adult” concerns, Green Acres’ Pre-K to 8 environment provides an oasis.
With little or no older teen influence at school, our students remain more ingenuous, more likely to engage in healthy, age-appropriate activities, and more comfortable being kids a few years longer than peers at many other schools. In his bestselling book Best Friends/Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Worlds of Children, renowned child psychologist Michael Thompson said, “If I could design psychologically safe schools, every elementary school in the United States would go from kindergarten through grade eight and be no larger than four hundred students.” At Green Acres, we know that a Pre-K to 8th grade program is beneficial not only when it comes students’ psychological well-being, but also in terms of their social, emotional, and intellectual flourishing.
In addition, our students enjoy the privilege of having close and continuous relationships with their teachers, who are experts both in their discipline and in child development. Knowing that their teachers are their mentors and allies, Green Acres students feel safe taking intellectual risks—a boon to their academic achievement. And as our community often echoes, students at Green Acres benefit from early leadership opportunities. Because our Middle Schoolers are at the “top of the hill,” they serve the school as leaders. They respond to new responsibilities, such as mentoring students in the lower grades, with maturity and vision uncommon for their age.
Our students graduate from 8th grade with a strong sense of who they are, both as learners and as members of society. Because high school is a significant transition for every student, we begin working with our students in 7th grade to identify appropriate high schools. We also help to guide families through the process of applying to independent schools or preparing for the transition to public high school. Our students emerge well prepared to select their next school environment.
Green Acres parents, present and past, share why they love the Pre-K to 8 environment at our School:
It is difficult to overstate the benefits of a program that runs from Pre-K to 8th grade, rather than through high school. For the younger students, it prolongs the innocence and joy of childhood. For the middle schoolers, it provides an opportunity to take on leadership responsibilities and to gain self-confidence. And for the graduating students, it allows them to choose a high school that is a good fit and, if they wish, to reinvent themselves in a new high school environment. —Alisa, P’17, ’14
Rather quickly after we began our independent school search, we knew that a school ending in 8th grade was for us. We want our daughters to experience childhood for as long as possible without the extra "distractions" that high school often can bring. And as they continue to seem to change and grow before our eyes, it just makes sense that a high school we might choose for them now may not be a good fit several years from now. —Ann, P’23, ’25
The positive experiences our two children had in their nine and 10 years at Green Acres entirely outweighed any burdens of applying to high schools. Children and families change, and what is best in young childhood may change in adolescence. There is such excitement in embarking on the high school search process when your adolescent is an active participant—and this far outweighs the work involved. And every child we know benefited from the broadening of the social experience that comes with changing schools at 9th grade.—Terri, P’12, ’08