Fact-based research and evidence confirm what we’ve believed all along: PreK-8 is the independent school model that best supports the emotional, developmental, and academic needs of younger students before they go to high school.
Developmentally, this is the most socially, intellectually, and physically dynamic period in a child’s life. A PreK-8 model provides stability during the age four-to-fourteen years, with no school transitions as children move from PreK and kindergarten to elementary school to middle school.
Why not high school?
Because we want to preserve an environment in which the needs of younger students remain paramount, we maintain the PreK-8 model, choosing not to extend through high school. In schools that go to the twelfth grade, school culture tends to orbit around the high school. In a PreK-8 model, middle-schoolers have more opportunities to lead and younger students have more developmentally-appropriate role models.
With the PreK-8 model as a foundation, Harding Academy students learn and grow in a nurturing atmosphere that gives them the time and guidance to explore identity, goals, and interests. By the time they reach eighth grade, they are fully prepared to choose the high school that best fits who they have become—and they are fully prepared to be leaders when they get there.