Middle Years Program
Focused Learning in a Positive Environment
CRITICAL THINKING & LANGUAGE SKILLS
Our Middle Years Program is located in a beautiful heritage building that provides the space, resources, and inspiration necessary for this vital stage of development.
Students are taught to communicate expertly, think critically, collaborate effectively, and learn how to learn. If students understand how to learn, their future is secure. They can go on to excel in any subject as long as they have that understanding of how they best learn.
Communication is a vital part of the curriculum at this stage in students’ development. Westside approaches this using the Paideia Method. Also referred to as the Socratic Seminar. This means that students learn how to discuss their ideas with fellow students in a respectful, clear, and analytical manner.
The Paideia Method has a deep range of benefits. In general, using the Paideia Method results in students becoming more engaged, achieving higher grades, demonstrating less behavioural issues, and feeling more connected to their community. It is a teaching method that helps to cultivate responsible, open-minded, analytical, and respectful leadership.
The new BC curriculum is embraced, enriched and enhanced by enthusiastic teachers who share the belief that all children can learn well.
Integrated learning designed to explore an overarching theme is the goal of the new BC Curriculum and required learning in the Middle Years Program covers English Language and Literature, French, History, Geography, Math, Science, Technology, the Arts, Physical and Health Education, and Career Planning.
At Westside, we understand the needs of early adolescents, and we encourage the exploration of individual interests, inquiry, research, and innovation.
A few times a year, the regular timetable gives way to Alternative Program Weeks (AP Weeks).
These are weeks for students to experience learning beyond the regular curriculum. Offerings for these weeks are student-inspired and often assisted by parents. Every AP Week is different. However, in the past, we’ve offered Dance, Latin, Engineering, Acting, Journalism, Filmmaking, and Pilot Training.
Twice each year, there are Outdoor Schools, residential experiences where students can live, work, and play together while achieving objectives they have collaboratively set.
These outdoor schools create an opportunity for students to learn more experientially and engage with the curriculum in a hands-on manner.
The quality of learning is monitored through regular assessments of various types, while communication with parents is frequent.
Students require support and care as they progress through what is often a challenging transitional time.
In the Middle Years Program, every student is part of a Homeroom Class with whom they meet every morning and afternoon. Part of the daily rhythm of the school is to provide opportunities for reflection during homeroom. This is a thoughtful practice that helps students deepen their learning.
Homeroom teachers care about and monitor the progress of their students. Checking in to see how students are doing and communicating with parents when difficulties arise. This system allows for constant support and communication with parents as needed.
SMALL CLASS SIZES
Small class sizes are just as important, if not more so, during the middle years.
This a time when students may struggle with certain subjects and require special attention to strengthen their areas of weakness.
Once a student enters high school, it’s often too late to catch up on subjects that have not been given sufficient attention in the earlier years. This program is designed to make sure that doesn’t happen. Students leave the Middle Years with a strong base of skills that will serve them in their future at the Miniversity and in university.
Math is an area which is given particular importance as are Language Arts. These are areas which must not be left unattended. Instead, they should be carefully strengthened so that students have the option to pursue any career goals or passions in the future. A strong education across all subjects will leave the door open for your child to pursue their interests.
AFTER SCHOOL CLUBS
Students in the Middle Years Program also have access to Westside’s after-school Super Curriculum, which we call the Super C. There are clubs and study halls available to students up until 5:45 pm every day. This allows students to engage in enriching activities or work on a subject or project that requires further attention.