Early adolescence is a critical phase of development, a period of accelerated growth and change. Behaviour patterns adopted in these years can have lifelong consequences, both positive and negative.
Early adolescence is a time of opportunity and risk. A positive school environment is critical to ensuring this age group’s learning,social, and physical needs are met.
Meeting Their Needs
Young adolescents need a nurturing, secure environment at school and at home, with special adult guidance. If problems are not prevented in these years, there may be significant economic and social consequences such as:
School reforms in the United States have shown positive benefits for student achievement in this age group. Students thrive in small settings, with close teacher contact and high parental involvement.
This is the age group when girls often lose their self-esteem and self-confidence. Grade 7 and 8 students need leadership opportunities that will build their confidence and encourage independent behaviour.
Young adolescents benefit from smaller schools, stable relationships among students and teachers, intellectual stimulation, and significant parental involvement. They deserve our best efforts to help them become healthy, constructive adults.
For more information on meeting the needs of young adolescents, see ETFO’s brochure Elementary Schools - The best place for young adolescents to learn.