Fourth Through Eighth Grade
The Formative Years: Fourth through Eighth Grade
Middle school is an exciting, yet challenging time for students, their parents and teachers. During this passage from childhood to adolescence, middle school students are characterized by a need to explore a variety of interests, connecting their learning in the classroom to its practical application in life and work; high levels of activity coupled with frequent fatigue due to rapid growth; a search for their own unique identity as they begin turning more frequently to peers rather than parents for ideas and affirmation; extreme sensitivity to the comments from others; and heavy reliance on friends to provide comfort, understanding and approval. American School Counselors Association.
Did you know?
As pre-adolescents and adolescents move through this very eventful time in their lives, parents can help by learning more about the academic, emotional, and developmental stages of Fourth Graders, Fifth Graders, and Middle Schoolers.
The need to engage young people about college and careers happens at all stages. At the elementary school level, students will gain career awareness and at the middle school level students will engage in career exploration.
As academic work for this age group grows more difficult, requiring a deeper level of thinking, students in the formative years will benefit from sites such as Kahn Academy to help with homework or review material they may not understand.
As middle schoolers venture on their journey of self-discovery, it may be beneficial to explore their learning styles, study habits, and interests. A self-assessment can assist with this exploration.
Spartanburg County School Districts
Spartanburg School District One – (864) 472-4117
Inman/Landrum/Campobello and Northwest County
Spartanburg School District Two – (864) 578-0128
Boiling Springs/Chesnee and Northeast County
Spartanburg School District Three – (864) 279-6000
Cowpens/Pacolet and East Central County
Spartanburg School District Four – (864) 476-3186
Woodruff and Southwest County
Spartanburg School District Five – (864) 949-2350
Lyman/Duncan/Wellford and Central West County
Spartanburg School District Six – (864) 576-4212
Westside Spartanburg City and Central County
Spartanburg School District Seven – (864) 594-4400
Central and Eastside Spartanburg City
How to obtain information and/or assistance
- Teachers are in contact with students for at least 7 hours of the day. Your collaboration and partnership in the education of your child is paramount to your child reaching their full potential in the classroom. Keeping the lines of communication open will assist parents in supplementing what is being taught in the classroom or identifying problems a student may encounter. Your child’s teacher can assist in making sure the accelerated student is challenged or provide remedial help for the student who struggles.
- Who to contact if problems exist:
- Your child’s teacher. Many teachers will provide their contact information at the beginning of the year. Please keep that information handy. You can always call the school directly should you need to speak with a teacher or set up a conference.
- The school counselor is a great resource for parents. Counselors are knowledgeable about resources in the community that can assist with academic, social, or familial concerns. Counselors are also trained to do school related one-on-one or group counseling.
- Your healthcare provider is another great resource if problems arise in the school setting. Physiological or psychological problems that are best diagnosed by a physician may be the cause of difficulty in a classroom setting.
Out of School Time
Today, most parents work outside the home, many because of economic necessity. They struggle with the constant pressure of being valuable employees and responsible parents. Experts estimate that at least 8 million “latchkey” children come home to empty houses. Potentially children are left unsupervised before/after school and during days out of school.
The hours from 2 to 8 p.m. are the peak time for juvenile crime and victimization, and the time period when teens ages 16-17 are most likely to be involved in a car crash. Also, youth left unsupervised for a certain number of hours per week are more likely to be sexually active, and at risk for sexually transmitted diseases. Participation in after school programs gets children and youth off the streets, under supervision, and potentially prevents some risky behaviors. But beyond offering a safe haven, research and evaluation studies have demonstrated that the programs can have a positive effect on a range of prevention outcomes, such as avoidance of drug and alcohol use, decreases in delinquency and violent behavior, increased knowledge of safe sex, avoidance of sexual activity, and reduction in juvenile crime.
There are generally three types of after-school programs: day-care, after-school, and extended-school day programs. All of which are available in Spartanburg County.
Many after school programs focus less on academics and more on improving young people’s social and developmental challenges, such as social skills, self-esteem and self-concept issues, initiative, and leadership skills. Research has shown that participation in these programs is associated with decreased behavioral problems, improved social and communication skills, better relationships with peers and teachers, increased self-confidence, self-esteem and self-efficiency, lower levels of depression and anxiety, development of initiative, and improved feelings and attitudes toward self and school.
The National Dropout Prevention Center suggests the following key components of effective school age programs:
- Academic offerings: homework assistance, tutoring, hands-on learning, reading and writing enrichment;
- Enrichment and accelerated learning: exposure to visual and performing arts, field trips, character education, critical thinking skills, foreign languages, and technology;
- Supervised recreation: organized sports and sports education; and
- Community service: connects students to the community.
Locally, the Citizen Scholars program works to support youth over a seven year period - from 5th grade through college graduation, providing mentors and coaching to help them develop and reach their academic and personal goals.
- The Afterschool Alliance can provide you with a list of out of school providers in Spartanburg who are members of that organization.
- The Afterschool Alliance offers information about what to look for in an afterschool program.
- South Carolina Child Care is a website hosted by SC Department of Social Services that provides information specific to selecting and utilizing child care in South Carolina.
- General growth, development and educational information about the Middle Childhood Years (ages 5-10) is contained in a publication by Bright Futures, under the auspices of The American Academy of Pediatrics.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Child Study Center of NYU Langone Medical Center offer information about latch key children and how to make an informed decision about your child’s readiness to be home alone.
- National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is the nation’s leading voice for high quality early childhood education for children from birth to age 8 offers more information about chores.
- Do you wonder how much sleep you child should be getting? Check out the Sleep Health Foundation and WebMD.
Students in the formative years will become more social and more willing to try new activities, please visit the following sites for information on getting your child involved with extracurricular activities:
Exploration gives students an opportunity to discover their interest and passions. Examples of organizations that can help are:
Academic and Homework resources: