At Encinitas Country Day School, the critical middle years are a time to develop a solid foundation through high quality academic instruction, day-to-day guidance and support and ongoing, meaningful preparation for life. Our lower school curriculum focuses on the common ground of all nations, cultures and religions, accentuating respect for differences and seeing the best in each one. With the positive view offered in the formative elementary school years behind them, middle school students have matured sufficiently to begin to broaden their view to integrate the more challenging realities of life.
In the middle years, students take a cross-curricular look at the personal, social, and community challenges of adolescence. For the first time their historic perspective of the world includes the fact that wars have been based in social, cultural, religious and economic differences. Students examine these issues historically and philosophically through academic and personal development classes and activities. They step up to discuss, evaluate, debate, report, practice and evolve their understanding of the world and their place in it. Guided discussions of literary works, historic events and first-person accounts provide a springboard for group discussion of adolescent issues and provide the relevance of classes in life skills. Round table discussions and exercises in oral and written communication provide students their first opportunities to express their evolving point of view and a safe environment to test their newly emerging ideas. As students successfully integrate their newest ideas, they begin to realize the potential of lifetime learning and naturally evolve to participate through middle school debate, newspaper and yearbook, service projects, and student government. Ultimately, students begin to form an individual sense of their own point of view and an ability to think conflicting information through to a conclusion. This process is meant to support students in developing the conviction necessary to step aside from the popular view to make independent decisions. It helps them to develop the moral strength necessary to live according to their own personal integrity.