Curriculum Highlights: Language Arts
Seventh – 8th grade students enjoy daily P.E. classes. Organized activities and games develop general fitness and conditioning, coordination, manipulative activities, and game/sport skills. Classes also emphasize good character and age-appropriate health and lifestyle awareness. Upper-school students enjoy Inner Quest, an outdoor challenge program that promotes individual courage and collaborative teamwork and includes overnight camping trips. Students have the opportunity to join after-school sports teams for league competition in soccer, basketball, and soft ball, as well as track and field events. An intramural basketball program is offered during the winter months.
Social dancing is taught to all 7th-8th graders as part of the P.E. program. Dance lessons include popular line dances, waltz, jitterbug, and fox trot. Dance parties are held three times a year, including costumes, games, prizes, and lots of boogie-down fun.
Technology instruction is included in the academic schedule in grades 7 – 8. The curriculum at this level continues to develop keyboarding skills and facility with Microsoft Word, Power Point, and Excel. Technology skills are integrated with academic assignments to provide many opportunities for application of knowledge and skills.
This special 8th-grade class is taught by the Headmaster and Assistant Head of School. It aims to put the final polish on our soon-to-be graduates. Topics include personal grooming and presentation, social skills and courtesies, extemporaneous speaking and mock interviews, as well as a variety of arts-related experiences.
The students are guided toward careful thought about the future—the kind of person they want to be and how to get there. Core to the class is the motto: From him to whom much is given, much is expected. Enrichment class aims to focus the student’s thoughts on his/her personal strengths and areas for improvement, goals and obligations, and to encourage self-responsibility, thoughtfulness of others, enthusiasm, gratitude, and the courage to pursue one’s dreams.
Under the guidance of the administration, Westminster teachers are grouped into grade-level teams who become experts in the developmental stage and associated challenges that each age-group faces. Since they teach the children for two consecutive years, there is ample time to develop trusting relationships and gain insight into each individual. Teachers are better able to strengthen the children’s academic skills, but also to nurture healthy individual development and positive peer relations.
As children enter 7th grade at Westminster School, they literally “turn the corner” into the 7th/8th grade hallway, but also metaphorically, into a new and exciting stage of development. Adolescence brings a stronger emphasis on peer relationships and burgeoning individuality. A greater capacity for abstract thinking opens new worlds for the children, and they often develop a keen interest in this or that subject, a passion for a particular musical group, or a tendency to question and debate any topic. Our teachers delight in and support all of these positive age-appropriate developments in their students. They understand that this developmental stage may also bring new challenges, including issues of self-esteem, peer competition, and the potential for social exclusion. Our teachers keep a keen eye on the children’s character development and how they interact with one another. Under the experienced guidance of the administration, the teachers are well prepared to guide the children through this sometimes bumpy passage, steering them toward positive self-esteem, kindness and respect for one another, and accountability for their own attitudes and actions.
Organized and chaperoned by their homeroom and/or enrichment teachers, upper-school students enjoy approximately seven field trips throughout the year. Field trips are chosen to highlight subjects in the core curriculum, as well as music and art classes, and may include museums, historic sites, outdoor venues, and performances. All field trips are by Westminster School bus.