Why Preschool-8?

Notice the Difference

People are often curious about the difference between an elementary school and a Preschool-8 school. While visiting WNS, you’ll notice the difference in the confidence, fearlessness, and respectfulness of our students towards each other and as individuals. We believe the Preschool-8 environment plays a vital role in producing these characteristics. Below are just a few examples of the Preschool-8 difference.

List of 8 items.

  • "Buddy programs" have positive effects on both younger and older students.

    Working as a team in Family Groups and with grade-level buddies creates a personal connection between older and younger students at WNS. They provide a positive role model for younger children while encouraging empathy in the older students.
  • A change at ninth grade is good.

    Research shows that keeping children in a consistent and familial educational environment through the elementary and middle school years is ideal, before allowing them the freedom of a change of venue, new friends, and new challenges for high school. Because Westside Neighborhood School ends in eighth grade, all of our graduates leave together, offering support to one another. At ninth grade, students are eager to experience new friendships and challenges that support their individual interests before college, and are ready to make a smooth and confident transition into high school.
  • By eighth grade, you know your child better as a learner and a person.

    In the elementary and middle years, your student's academic strengths, interests, learning styles and gifts become defined and social-emotional strengths become clearer. These individual characteristics become apparent during pre-adolescence. There are excellent high school choices – each with its own strengths and areas of focus. By the time your child is in eighth grade, the best match for high school is much easier to determine. It is very difficult to know what the best match is for a 16-year-old when they are 10 or 11 years old.
  • Childhood is preserved.

    Westside Neighborhood School's elementary and middle school environment allows students to experience age-appropriate activities and events, without the influence and pressure of older students. Seventh and eighth graders are not caught in the middle, but take on the leadership role of "seniors." At the same time they can be themselves, often remaining younger a bit longer and not as directly influenced by the social pressures common in high school. Young adolescents trying to establish themselves in a world of older students pushes them to grow up faster in order to fit in. In our Preschool-8 environment, emerging adolescents are given the nurturing and age-appropriate support they need for a healthy, confident transition to the high school years and beyond.
  • High school choice and process is a team effort. Students have a voice.

    The Head of School and eighth grade faculty work in partnership with you and your student to find a high school match that honors your child's unique gifts and achievements. A family choice, involving your eighth grader along with the support of the school, is a satisfying and personalized way to choose a high school. Eighth graders are highly involved in our process through self-reflection and personalized meetings, and are better aware of what they value in a high school. The Westside Neighborhood School placement team knows the schools and knows your student. Westside Neighborhood School's students are sought after as high school freshmen because they are academically very well prepared, self-assured, well-rounded, active in school life, and are strong moral citizens. We proudly matriculate our eighth graders to twenty different college-preparatory high schools throughout the greater Los Angeles area. This experience better prepares students for making life and college choices.
  • National studies show the advantages.

    National studies show the advantages of PS-8 and K-8 schools for students at all grade levels. The continuity of teachers, classmates, programs, and expectations appears to enhance academic, social, and emotional development for students leading to greater academic achievement and improved self-esteem and confidence. Middle school students typically behave differently in a K-8 setting, serving as role models and protectors as opposed to having to establish new reputations and social relationships at a socially vulnerable time. This continuity is also highly beneficial academically, as middle school students are taught by teachers who know them and where support is needed and where stretch should be encouraged.
  • The WNS Connection lasts a lifetime.

    Students experiencing Westside Neighborhood School throughout the middle school years have values and friendships that will define and benefit them throughout their lives.  Their connection to WNS continues as alumni. Graduates of WNS maintain a strong relationship with the school through alumni events, visits to campus, and volunteer or internship opportunities, that are often a requirement for high school.
  • Your child has many leadership and activity opportunities.

    The oldest students on any campus assume the mantle of leadership and act as role models for the entire student body, a powerful element in the development of character and emotional stability in young adolescents. Our middle school students rise to the challenge and serve on the Executive Board of our Student Council, lead their Family Groups, have the starring roles in our eighth grade play, and play on our school's highest-level athletic teams. The positive achievements of early adolescents are recognized as culminating events and traditions at Westside Neighborhood School. Benchmarking moments such as the seventh grade Sequoia trip, the eighth grade Pen Ceremony, the eighth grade Washington, D.C. experience, and the culminating events around graduation provide parents and students with important and shared life experiences. Enjoying both the privileges and responsibilities in the seventh and eighth grades better prepares students for those same opportunities in high school and beyond.