School Life

Middle School (Yr 7-9)

The Middle School is the Junior Secondary section of the school consisting of students from Years 7, 8 and 9. At present 9 classes form the Middle School, three at each year level. The strong commitment to learning as being a partnership with the teacher and the student is clearly reflected in small class sizes which allow relationships to flourish.

Focus on Middle School Handbook

Multi-aged grouping.

Realising that all students are unique, displaying a wide range of gifts and talents, the Middle School seeks to foster an appreciation of community giftedness and sharing through a multi-aged approach to learning.

Year 7 and 8 students are grouped in ‘Cycles’, which facilitate a number of multi-aged activities within their Cultural Studies (CS) units. These Year 7 and 8 students develop cooperation skills, the enrichment of ideas and positive interaction between the two year levels. This exciting format has been developed to challenge all students, and to encourage aspects of responsibility and support from the older students to younger students and vice versa.

The Curriculum.

The main focus and emphasis of the Middle School curriculum is an awareness of God as our creator and our response to him as his image bearers and is developed in line with government curriculum requirements. All studies undertaken by students in the Middle School emphasise the unity, beauty, richness and diversity of God’s creation.

Students in Years 7 and 8 are assigned to Cycle A or B (more information on Cycles is on page 7 of the Focus on Middle School Handbook). Each Cycle emphasises the students’ appreciation of their God-given talents and how best they may use these in serving Him.
Terms 2-3 are organised in three Cycle groups comprised of one Year 7 and one Year 8 class. Every Cycle has an associated Science and Art unit that allows the students to learn the content in a more integral fashion. Each Cycle emphasises the students' appreciation of their God-given talents and how best they may use these in serving Him.
These are taught in year specific groupings to facilitate sequential skill development. The Skill Thread areas are:-
Drama, English, Mathematics, Physical Education, Science, Scripture, ICT and Music
All Skill Thread areas are linked into the Ministry of Education Curriculum and Standard VELS expectations.
Some of the areas taught within the Art curriculum include: Food Technology, Claymation, Graphic design, Textiles, Painting.

Multi-media centre

At MECS we recognise that technology has become a major tool in our society. Our multi-media resource centre is well equipped with up to date IT resources. We also have class sets of netbooks available in each Year level or Cycle and computer access in the Library and Science Labs.

Pastoral Care

Middle School staff aim to provide an atmosphere of support and care during this crucial adolescent period, fostering close relationships with students in all aspects of school life. The important transition from Year 6 to Year 7 is intentionally planned to ensure students receive support, encouragement and direction to help them transition into the increased demands and pressures of Middle School and adolescence. The orientation program endeavours to ensure that both existing MECS Year 6 students, and new students assimilate well into the Middle School.

Pastoral care is primarily provided for all students within their home classes to best address their individual needs. Should extra nurturing be necessary, the Middle School Pastoral Care Coordinator and the Student Welfare Counsellor are available to assist students.

Camping program

God’s creation is infi nite in its beauty and diversity - we believe that the need to get out and explore His creation is vital.

Each camp immerses the students in a variety of rich learning experiences, designed to build upon the curriculum being studied at school. Our camps also provide a wonderful opportunity for deepening the relationships between students and teachers.

Camps are an integral, critical and compulsory part of the curriculum right through all levels of MECS. It’s one of the distinctive features of MECS: the camping program starts in Prep with their ‘Big Night Out’, and continues through every year level (with the exception of Year 11). In the Middle School, each class undertakes two week-long camps each year including Wilsons’ Prom, Canberra and Inverloch. Camps are designed in association with the Cultural Studies units.
Day trips, relevant to the core units being studied, also occur during the year.

Year 7 and 8

Cycle A and Cycle B (2 Years) Cycle Groupings

During Years 7 and 8 all students complete both Cycle A and Cycle B. Both of these units are stand alone units of study, which means that it does not matter in which order they are completed.

Cycle A

The focus of the curriculum in Cycle A is History. Students undertake a study of ancient civilisations and the impact that civilisation has had on our society today. Two key questions unite the year’s study: “What’s important to people?” and “Are all people important?”

In Cycle A, students develop Information Literacy skills particularly blogging, research and referencing sources.

Cycle B

The focus of the curriculum in Cycle B is Geography and Economics. Cycle B students investigate key geographical and economic concepts to help explore and understand our interaction with the world. We hope to instil in students a sense of awe and wonder of God’s handiwork, and consider our responsibilities as stewards of His creation.

Year 9 Open Village Program.

Education is much more than the passing on of knowledge - it is about helping the students become well rounded, life long learners. Each student is unique and the Year 9 Open Village gives students the opportunity to explore who they are and how they learn best in an innovative and challenging environment.

Throughout the year the students are encouraged to consider the way they work, think, communicate and behave. There are clear descriptions of the expectations in each of these categories for students to use as a guide and regular meetings with teachers allow for personalised feedback. The students work with the teachers to set realistic and challenging goals that will help them target specifi c areas that need further improvement. The input of teacher, student and parents ensures the goals are challenging but not overwhelming.

A variety of immersion experiences are used to introduce each new area of study. These may be an activity, an excursion, a movie or other experience designed to spark off curiosity and help a student to engage with the curriculum. These generally create a high level of enthusiasm and help the student to identify an area they would like to study further. Many immersion experiences are debriefed in small groups where students have the opportunity to ask questions and unpack the issues raised with other students and a teacher. Students are encouraged to question “Why?” and consider what a Christian response to these issues might be.

Once the student has chosen what interests them, they work closely with a teacher to develop a project. This process is aided by a project proposal sheet, helping the student to consider what questions they are trying to answer, who their target audience is, what form the project should take, how it will challenge the student, and how it can be broken down into manageable steps. The student then negotiates a due date for the project with the teacher.

Each term there is at least one compulsory task for students to complete while other projects are negotiated with a teacher. Every compulsory project is designed to challenge students in a different way. One might be an individual practical task while another a group oral presentation. Through such projects the students are given opportunity to develop and grow in a variety of areas. Effective collaboration with others, pulling their weight in a team situation, managing time well, striving for accuracy and precision are just a few of these and each area has been identified as being an important skill for ensuring ongoing success.

Each student has a homegroup teacher who tracks their progress and they also have access to a whole team of teachers they can work alongside. A student may decide to work closely with any teacher based upon the project they are currently undertaking and the specifi c gifts and skills of the teachers.

Seminars are regularly used to give the students targeted instruction on a specifi c topic. These are held in small groups and organised to repeat a number of times in the week so that the students can select when they attend. This gives the students opportunity to plan to meet with other students they may be working with or to work around their involvement with other projects.

Through the intentional design of Open Village the students are drawn into a rich opportunity to develop essential skills for life and learning both inside and outside the school environment. It is our hope that this program will help equip the students to become transforming agents for positive change in the society in which they live.