Parent Education Series – Episode 1: Why Middle School Matters
By: Matt Nuttall & Anne Lovatt
Adolescence is a time of profound change. The minds and hearts of adolescents are firing on all cylinders, in ways that are both productive and disruptive. Middle School students are full of contradictions: they need structure AND autonomy; they need freedom AND constant support; they desperately need their friends AND equally desperately need adults who love and understand them; they want to feel safe and protected AND they want to explore new ideas, ideologies, and personalities; they want to know their own world well AND they are curious about the larger world outside their personal space.
Our Middle Years program at High Meadows is truly one-of-a-kind; it is a place where students explore big ideas and learn about the world, themselves, and each other. It is a place where we celebrate the authentic voices of our students and place a high value on the natural world and our relation to it. It is a place where students spend their days learning about literature, history, mathematics, language, science, and the arts in unique ways that allow them to draw deep connections between these subject areas. Most importantly, it is a place where we recognize the complexity of adolescence, and adolescents, and honor their individuality as well as their contributions to the greater whole. (Click here to learn more about our Middle Years program.)
In this episode of our Parent Education Series, Matt Nuttall (Middle Years Principal) and Anne Lovatt (Middle Years Social Studies teacher and HMS Alumna Class of 1996) share their reflections and knowledge on this developmental stage of life, teaching and learning in the Middle Years program, and what we do here at High Meadows to make this fascinating and complicated time in the lives of our students one full of joy and growth. Along with the video, we have included numerous resources for those of us raising and teaching Middle Years students.
Middle School Parent Resources:
Growth mindset information, which is part of the philosophy we use here- effort and process over end result:
Positive discipline for teenagers:
The Adolescent Brain:
Social Emotional Learning:
Adolescent development explained:
What teenagers need to thrive: