Girl Power--Getting Ready for Middle School
For many kids in north central Florida, summer is a long- awaited break from school. But for a group of elementary school graduates, it's also a time to prepare.
"I don't want to get like lost," said Grace Brennan, 10, who is part of the first "Passages" workshop this summer- a girls only program giving her the tools she'll need for her first year of middle school, before it starts.
Studies show girls have a harder time than boys making the transition from elementary school to middle school.
Experts say, aside from a different setting, girls are growing and developing early in their middle school careers.
"They're often taller than the boys...so that makes them stand out in another way," said Dr. Kimberly White, program director at the UF Department of Psychiatry.
Anxiety among girls in this age group, experts say, causes them to conform to group dynamics.
"One fish moves and then the whole group moves-this is not unlike what you see in these girls behavior," she said.
Aside from practicing how to open a combination lock, experts say a healthy lesson is teaching girls how to be comfortable in their own skin.
"Critical thinking, teaching leadership, ability to believe in one self- to identify one's own core beliefs independent of the group," she said.
"You just need to be who you are, and let people accept you for who you are, and if they don't want to hang out with you, it's their loss," said Brennan.
Click here for a complete schedule of the "Passages" workshop.
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