The Gift of Stability: 3 Benefits of Staying at the Same School from PK-12Written by Friends Academy
What does change mean to you?
To some people, change brings an exciting opportunity to try something new, meet new friends, and tackle new challenges. To others, change is a chaotic force that should be avoided in favor of what’s familiar and comfortable.
When it comes to education, change is common as each year ushers in new teachers, material, and standards of excellence. The school years are also a time of tremendous personal change as young people grow, mature, explore their world, and come to know themselves.
Most people know that stability is important for young children. Being surrounded by stable relationships in a predictable and nurturing environment is a key contributor to healthy early development, which can lead to greater creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. However, even though some level of change is standard and unavoidable, significant change can be disruptive and negatively impact a student’s academic and personal growth.
Many students transition to a new school after the fifth-grade and eighth-grade years, which are important milestones along their academic journey. Experiencing these changes within a context of stability helps to provide an anchor of predictability and security through the inevitable challenges of adolescence.
Here are three significant benefits to keeping kids in the same school throughout their grade-school education.
Benefit 1: Better Academic Outcomes
Schools with strong PK-12 programs offer intentional progression from one grade to the next. High school programs scaffold and build upon the skills and knowledge gained in middle school, just as middle school did with those of elementary school.
Switching schools can disrupt that progression because students will have to learn a new structure, expectations, and ways of doing things—from how papers should be formatted to how students are expected to participate in class. It takes valuable time to adjust to these differences.
On top of that, the curriculum may have differences in its scope and sequence which means a student could be ahead in some areas and behind in others.
In contrast, staying in the same school means students aren’t distracted by these kinds of adjustments and can focus their attention on continuing to build on an established foundation. This advantage has a compounding effect, boosting both their skills and their confidence as they advance through their academic career into college and beyond.
Rather than learning new systems and making new friends, students can focus on growing, learning, and building skills like critical thinking, creativity, confidence, public speaking, collaboration, networking, and self-advocacy.
This also allows students to build relationships with teachers across different divisions in a PK-12 community, and vice-versa. It allows teachers to get to know each of their students deeply and provide them with individualized support. Within a PK-12 environment, this also allows teachers to collaborate with each other on a student’s development.
Benefit 2: Stronger Social Connections
Learning takes place in the context of relationships. At the same time that students are building their knowledge, they are also building a network of supportive connections with peers, teachers, staff, and even other students’ parents. These relationships are a vital part of creating the kind of nurturing environment in which both learning and personal growth can best occur.
Building this kind of social capital is a slow process. Switching schools means leaving established relationships behind and starting over, both with friends and teachers.
When they stay in the same school, students experience a growing social network that becomes stronger with each passing year, providing both support and the richness of relationships in which one is known and knows others.
Benefit 3: Better Parental Engagement
Research indicates that there are a number of positive impacts when parents are more engaged in their children’s education. Engagement includes establishing relationships with teachers and administrators so parents can understand what is going on at school and help support their children in their learning.
Just as with their kids’ social connections, the kinds of relationships that facilitate active engagement take time to build. Moreover, parents, too, need to learn about a school’s policies, expectations, and ways of doing things. Switching schools means parents begin again and may find maintaining a sense of involvement and connection more difficult.
The parents of students who remain in the same school build the relationships and knowledge that give them a greater sense of connection to and ownership in their children’s education. This makes it easier to realize the benefits of parental engagement – like stronger academic performance.
Give Your Student the Gift of Excellence at Friends Academy
Stability is essential to helping students grow, develop, and become the best versions of themselves. The ability to stay in the same school setting improves academic performance, builds transformative networks of relationships, and encourages parental involvement and ownership.
At Friends Academy, our students experience this stability while progressing through a course of study that enables them to discover and develop the best of who they are and who they can become. We embrace the value of nurturing community, and the freedom of each student to explore, reflect, and pursue their own unique path.
With a rigorous curriculum and a unified approach across all school divisions, students at Friends Academy benefit from consistency and intentional growth year-over-year. What students learn in Lower School prepares them to succeed in Middle School and the same is true from Middle School to Upper School, to college and beyond.
It’s part of the reason why we’ve been voted the #1 Private PK-12 school in Nassau County and how we’ve set the standard of academic excellence for over 147 years.
Would you like to give your child the gift of stability and academic excellence? Find out more about our unique mission and vision for education.