Ask any middle school student to name a highlight of the school year and you’re sure to hear two words: mini term.
During the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the “regular” school schedule shifts to allow for special course offerings two hours a day.
Faculty and staff, parents, and community members offer courses in their areas of expertise and/or interest. For example, this year one of our music teachers taught a Japanese language and culture course. A P.E. teacher taught poetry and lyrics. A seventh grade language arts teacher taught knitting. And a parent taught a course on making and binding books.
Seventh and eighth grade students have the option of designing and teaching a course for fourth and fifth grade students. Some classes led by students this year included the Art of the Comedy Sketch, Digital Songwriting, Cooking-ish, and Musical Theater. Students are often surprised at the amount of planning required to lead an hour-long class!
Seventh and eighth grade students can also apply to be a student intern in place of taking a course. For an hour every day, interns help in preschool classrooms or at the park. They also work with kindergarten or first grade students in the Studio or Shared Space, much to the delight of the younger students.
In the Lower School, the daily routine remains the same, but teachers introduce special units of study. Walk into first grade during mini term and you’ll find students steeped in Arctic and Antarctic study. The classroom fills with paintings and sculptures of polar bears, penguins, arctic hares, and orcas.
The change of pace infuses the school day with fresh energy. Teachers report that students work harder in all areas. Mini term: full of opportunities to teach and try something new. To push ourselves in new and unexpected ways. To delight in the journey.