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Advantages of a Pre-K – Eighth Grade School

St. Timothy's Lower School students doing an activity in the classroom

When enrolling their child in early education, many parents must choose between pre-k-eighth grade or pre-K-12th grade institutions. While both structures offer unique benefits, pre-K-eighth grade schools better fit families seeking closer communities and tailored education. 

St. Timothy’s School is a pre-K-eighth grade school offering small, nurturing learning environments for students to grow academically, emotionally, and spiritually. Our structure fosters an intellectual, inclusive community where every student feels at home. Read below to learn more about the advantages of enrolling your child in a pre-K-eighth grade school like St. Timothy’s School.  

Focuses on the Formative Years

When a school only goes through eighth grade, it devotes more of its resources toward early education. Pre-K to eighth grade are a child’s most formative years as they set the tone for their lifelong learning journey. For this reason, it is essential for schools to teach with intention during these years, as young learners will take their earliest lessons with them for the long haul. And luckily, the pre-K-eighth grade structure at St. Timothy’s allows for just that!

Allows for Easy Transitions

As students transition between grades, it’s important to provide care, communication, and continuity. Schools with pre-K-eighth grade structures are more equipped to provide these necessities as students get older, creating a path for them that feels comfortable and safe. As students grow alongside peers and teachers they’ve known for the long haul, they experience easier transitions from grade to grade and feel more confident inside and outside the classroom. 

Creates a Nurturing and Safe Environment 

The pre-K-eighth grade structure fosters a safer and more nurturing environment for students, both academically and socially. According to data from the Philadelphia Education Longitudinal Study, researchers found that middle schoolers who attended a pre-K-eighth grade school had higher levels of self-esteem and felt safer in their environment than those in sixth-eighth grade schools. This can be attributed to the close community formed in pre-K-eighth grade schools, as it creates an atmosphere where students feel comfortable challenging themselves, learning new things, and taking risks. 

Fosters a Tight-Knit Community

Schools with a pre-K-eighth grade structure create an environment for higher levels of involvement from students, teachers, and parents and, therefore, foster tighter-knit communities. As students and their families grow up together, they form stronger relationships that can often last a lifetime. At St. Timothy’s school, we foster a close community by encouraging students and families to participate in school events exhibiting our three core values: dignity, respect, and compassion. Our pre-K-eighth grade structure better allows for successful community building and enhances our students’ learning experiences. 

Stronger Academic Performance

Many studies have shown that academic performance is stronger in pre-K-eighth grade schools, particularly among middle school students. In a 2002 Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) Digest report, researchers found that fewer school-to-school transitions and more continuity resulted in higher academic achievements among students. Years later, a 2010 study by the Journal of Public Economics reaffirmed these findings, claiming that moving elementary students to a new school for middle school caused a decrease in academic achievement. Researchers found that middle schoolers’ academic performances continuously declined through eighth grade, particularly in math and English. For this reason, pre-K-eighth grade schools are widely believed to create more robust and consistent academic foundations for students. 

Allows Middle Schoolers to Shine 

A pre-K-eighth grade school can be especially beneficial for middle school students. With fewer grade levels, middle school students are not lost in the middle between lower and high school. Instead, they get to serve as role models and leaders of their community, allowing them to serve as mentors to younger students and take on more responsibilities. 

The pre-k-eighth grade structure instills confidence in middle schoolers because of what researchers call the “top dog effect.” In a 2016 study by Syracuse University, researchers found that when middle school students have the opportunity to be “top dogs,” or the oldest students at their school, they feel a stronger sense of confidence and belonging. This is one of the reasons we emphasize the importance of our structure here at St. Timothy’s School, as we want to ensure our students are equipped with the skills and mindset needed to thrive in middle school and beyond 

Private Education at St. Timothy’s School

At St. Timothy’s School, we recognize the importance of creating close, comfortable learning environments for prekindergarten, lower school, and middle school students. Our institution’s size and structure largely contribute to our students’ intellectual, social-emotional, and spiritual prosperity. Visit our site today to learn more about pre-K-eighth grade education at St. Timothy’s School.