In Middle School (Years 7-9), we understand that education is much more than the passing on of knowledge – it is about helping the students become well rounded, life-long learners.The Middle School program provides students the opportunity to explore who they are and how they learn best in an innovative and challenging environment. While the Middle School belongs to the the broader Secondary School, it is a distinct section that reflects the unique nature of our students. More than any other time in their lives, students in this age group exhibit vast differences in the rate at which they mature. Teaching and learning in the Middle School takes into account the unique stage of our learners, while seeking to broaden their knowledge, skills, and opportunities. We see each child as being created in God’s image, with unique gifts that are to be celebrated and nurtured.
Middle School Values
The values of Cooperation, Humility, Adventurousness, Thankfulness and Self-Control were chosen for their relevance to all young people. Each of these values meets the individual where they are at, forms a wonderful base for rules and expectations, and assists to clearly articulate the culture we are hoping to cultivate in the Middle School.
Cooperation - working with others to accomplish a common goal
Humility - Valuing others and ourselves
Adventurousness – Stretching ourselves beyond our comfort zone in life and in learning.
Thankfulness – Feeling and showing appreciation for God, others and our resources.
Self-Control – Taking responsibility for our behaviour and thinking before we act.
Middle School Motto: Courage to Believe and Act
When our students face different pressures, we want to spur them to have courage. Courage to believe in a God who cares for each of them. Courage to believe that they are capable and can extend their learning. Courage to try new things. Courage to stand up for what is right, and speak up for those who need a voice. This motto encapsulates how our faith and trust in Jesus results in Christ-like actions that reflect the Middle School values. It takes courage these days to truly believe in Jesus and to put faith into action.
The need for active and intentional pastoral care doesn’t diminish as students leave Primary School and enter Middle School. If anything, the need is even greater as students navigate the challenges of early adolescence. At MECS, each Middle School student has a pastoral care teacher. While all teachers look out for the needs of Middle School students, the pastoral care teacher for each child has the prime responsibility.
We understand that the transition from Primary School to Secondary School is a time of enormous change for students and their families. We are keen to make this transition as smooth as possible and there are a number of events during Term 4 of the year before your child commences Year 7 to help the students and their families make this exciting transition smoothly. In Year 7 students have the opportunity to learn more about themselves, and how they learn best. They also get to explore God’s amazing world through a wide range of different subjects. In particular, through the CS curriculum, they will do extensive studies in History and Culture, and how these have influenced our lives and identities in the present. Highlights for students during Year 7 include the Term 1 Activity Week, the Special Week in Term 3 which celebrates cultural diversity, and the end of year Adventure camp.
The middle year of ‘The Middle School’ has a focus on shaping the desires of students and teachers towards the kingdom for the purpose of ‘shalom’. At a time when students tend to become more egocentric, the Year 8 curriculum challenges students to look beyond themselves. Through studies on environmental stewardship, community service and global issues, the students begin to develop a greater awareness for the ‘brokenness’ of God’s world, and more importantly, their role in seeking to restore and transform God’s kingdom. Highlights for students during Year 8 include the Girls/Boys Health camps, the Global Issues Expo and the Wilson’s Promontory hiking camp.
Year 9 Open Village
The Year 9 Cultural Studies program is unique, innovative, challenging and engaging, and the students are empowered at this important age to take increased responsibility for their own learning. Students are encouraged to consider the way they work, think, communicate and behave. Students develop their thinking and learning skills through their self-designed individual and group assessment tasks. Through such projects the students are given opportunities to develop and grow in a variety of areas that have been identified as important skills for ensuring ongoing success: effective collaboration with others, pulling their weight in a team situation, managing time well and striving for accuracy and precision. 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 students to become transforming agents for positive change in the society in which they live. Highlights for students in Year 9 include the City Camp, the Canberra Camp, community building events and lunches, the electives programme, and the Ranges-Tec ‘taster’ day.
Restorative Practice & Discipline
In the MECS Middle School, our approach to discipline follows the principles of Restorative Practice. This approach recognises and helps students understand that relationships are damaged when behaviour goes wrong, or poor choices are made. The Restorative Practice approach acknowledges each person’s perspective, helps to build relationships and helps students work towards restoring the problem. It assists students to take responsibility for their poor choices, and to learn that issues and problems can be worked through resulting in forgiveness, healing and restoration. This process is in line with a Christian perspective - we forgive each other as God forgives us. We seek restoration of relationships, as God does with us.
Rotations & Electives
As students progress through the Middle School, we acknowledge that they are of an age when they are beginning to make decisions regarding future pathways. The subject offering is designed to provide students with a range of learning opportunities. In Years 7 and 8, all students participate in Rotations. Rotations are smaller classes that rotate through four learning areas at each Year level. While offerings can change slightly from year to year, they usually cover areas such as Digital Technology, Wood Technology, Food Technology, Visual Communication and Design, Horticulture, STEM, Textiles, and Media Studies. In Year 9, students have the opportunity to do a number of electives chosen from a wide range of areas including Music, Art, Drama, Indonesian, Business Studies, Digital Technology, Wood Technology, Food Technology, Horticulture, STEM, and Textiles.
MECS has a long tradition of running an exciting program known as Special Week. During mid Term 3, the ‘normal’ curriculum is set aside for a week, and a special in-depth focus takes place. In Year 7, the students investigate different cultures, both past and present. In Year 8, the focus is on raising awareness of Global issues. Finally, the Year 9s learn about running a business enterprise in Industry Week. The highlight of the week is the Showcase Evening, where family and friends are invited to come and share in the learning, while buying goodies and tasting delights from the Year 9 market.
In Years 7 and 8 Middle School students have laptop computers issued to them, referred to as PLDs (personal learning devices). The students are trained in the use of these and learn to see their PLD as a valuable learning tool, intrinsic to their learning across the various curriculum areas. Year 9 students currently access class sets of computers at school, but from 2023 they will also have PLDs.
Middle School Camping Program
As mentioned above, the various Middle School camps are a real highlight for students in each year level. Camps and other ‘out-of-classroom’ experiences are an important part of the educational program at MECS. Camps are an extension of the work done in class and is not regarded as an ‘optional extra’. Consequently, students at MECS are required to attend camps just like they are required to attend school each day and the camps are included in school fees. Camps are a priority because of the way they enhance the learning of our students. We feel it is valuable for students to not only learn about various aspects of God’s creation but also to experience them first hand. Learning is greatly enriched by such experiences and it has greater relevance. They provide opportunities for students to ‘shine’ and demonstrate their God-given gifts in ways that do not readily occur within the general classroom.
Enrichment And Support
At MECS we celebrate the ‘different kinds of normal.’ We nurture diversity and shape education to allow everyone to experience the rich joy of learning well. Within the Middle School years, the Education Support team offers a range of options to build on student learning. This includes targeted small group activities for students who require additional support in their learning, or who require extension and enrichment in particular subject areas. One-to-one withdrawal programs are also offered to some individual students who prefer this mode of support, whilst other students prefer to remain in the classroom and work with a learning assistant either singly or with a small group of students.
Through our sports program, students have the opportunity to represent MECS at interschool sports. These include individual sports such as swimming, athletics and cross-country; as well as regular fortnightly team sports such as Netball, Basketball, and Volleyball. Students who perform well at an interschool level in individual sports also have the opportunity to compete at higher levels. We also offer an additional Netball and Soccer Sports Academy outside school hours. Students participate in training one morning and one afternoon per week.
The performing arts are part of the broad curriculum undertaken by all Year 7 and 8 students, and part of the Elective program from Year 9. In addition, students specifically gifted or interested in the areas of performing arts have a number of different opportunities to develop their skills, including our instrumental program, our band and ensemble opportunities, and our biennial Secondary musical/drama production which is performed to the school community. All Secondary students are invited to take part in auditions for roles in these productions. Our Instrumental program at MECS includes a team of tutors providing lessons in a range of instruments. At recitals, our community of parents, friends, staff and students gather to support our soloists and ensembles from throughout the school.