Group 4 (Grades 7 & 8)


In Group 4 (7th-8th grade)

Social and Emotional Characteristics

  • Adolescents are developing their own identity separate from parents.

  • Peers are the most important influence at this point in their lives.

  • Adolescents want and need independence.

  • They still need adults, but don’t want to need them, which can be confusing.

  • They are able to think abstractly and see multiple points of view both socially and intellectually. They are more nuanced in their thinking and able to deal with contradictions.

  • They are starting to figure out their place in the larger world and are looking at their future.

  • They are practicing to be adults.

Some Ways We Foster Growth in the Classroom

  • Choices Class – Students can discuss issues with which they are struggling and with peer and teacher support, explore how to handle them or potential future issues.

  • Apprenticing – Students work in Newark businesses every Friday from 1-3 where they develop independent works skills and opportunities to work with adults who are not teachers or parents.

  • Independent Choice Reading and Reading Groups – Through self-selected young adult literature, adolescents are figuring out who they are, choices they would make, and their place in the world. Reading discussion groups capitalize on the social needs of this age, drive their reading and provide opportunities for multiple views and deeper thinking.

  • Big Give Project – Students choose an organization or cause about which they are passionate. They plan events, fundraisers, and volunteer to make a difference.

  • Camping Trips – In the fall Group 4 goes on a week-long camping trip at Shaver’s Creek Outdoor School at Penn State University. The children work as a group to support each other and challenge themselves through adventures in caving, canoeing, rock climbing and a high ropes course. In the spring we go on a camping trip to Trapp Pond in Laurel, DE.

  • Leadership Opportunities: Group 4 students run the weekly All-School Meeting, organizes our pizza ordering and serving, babysit for school events, independently plan and organize our haunted house, help to teach some gym, workshop week and academic classes.

Tips for Parents

  • Give your child opportunities to be independent and take on responsibilities. Allow them to try new things and to take safe risks. Learning from mistakes builds resiliency and problem solving skills.

  • Understand that your child will fluctuate between mature and immature behavior in a short period of time and try to be patient.

  • Make sure your child gets enough sleep.

  • Monitor social media and set time limits and evening curfews for technology usage. If possible, avoid having technology in your child’s bedroom at night.

  • Listen to your child’s concerns (even if they seem trivial) without being critical or judgmental.

  • Keep communication open. You may need to find new ways or times for communication and interaction.

  • Let your children figure things out for themselves even if their solutions differ from yours. Don’t solve their problems for them.