When students transition to the 9-12 Program as fourth-graders, they experience many challenges and face new and expanded expectations. Third-year 6-9 students are confident and relaxed as the oldest and most experienced members of their community. When they enter the 9-12 Program, fourth-grade students are more cautious and spend several weeks watching and learning from their older classmates. As these same students become more comfortable with the rhythm and routines of the 9-12 classrooms, they increasingly note the similarities to their previous Lower Elementary classrooms.
Just as in the other program levels at WMS, the foundation of the 9-12 experience is the social curriculum, based on the principles of Responsive Classroom teachings. The goal is that all children are known, find a comfortable routine, respect each other, and work through any difficulties that may arise. It is an opportunity to learn about other; everyone is not like us and has something to offer the group.
Though there are many similarities among programs at WMS, there will be differences as well. The 9-12 Program is where students find their voice and become more independent in asking questions and meeting their needs. Though teachers and parents support students in their transition, they encourage the children in their independence to approach adults and fellow students in getting what they need.