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Giada De Laurentiis Says Daughter Jade, 14, 'Found Her People' at Her New High School

giada DeLaurentiis
giada DeLaurentiis

giada DeLaurentiis/instagram

Autumn brought about many changes for Giada De Laurentiis' daughter, but the new 9th grader is sailing through her first few weeks back in the classroom.

The Food Network star told PEOPLE that Jade, 14, started her freshman year at a brand new school, which follows a "less academic and more artsy" curriculum.

"I think that she's found her people. It's so wonderful to see that in high school," De Laurentiis says of her only child's fresh environment. "She's really enjoying herself."

According to her mom (who spoke to PEOPLE while promoting her partnership with Sunbrella), Jade has also appreciated a batch of independence since changing schools. "She doesn't have a uniform anymore," the Giada at Home host says. "She can buy lunch. I know it sounds silly, but she was never able to do that before. She loves the freedom that she now has."

giada DeLaurentiis
giada DeLaurentiis

giada DeLaurentiis/instagram

In June, De Laurentiis and her ex-husband, Todd Thompson, joined to support their daughter at her middle school graduation. The Italian-born chef proudly shared photos from the ceremony, taking to Instagram to sing Jade's praises.

​​"I can't believe how fast time flies! Soo proud of u Jadey! ♥️On to the next exciting chapter- 9th grade!! #mommymoments," De Laurentiis wrote alongside her post, which features a picture of her, Jade and Thompson. Another slide showed Jade posing with her mom's boyfriend, Shane Farley, whom she started dating in 2015.

RELATED: How Giada De Laurentiis' Animal-Friendly Home Is Designed for 'Bonding Time' with Her Pets

Giada DeLaurentiis and daughter Jade
Giada DeLaurentiis and daughter Jade

Giada DeLaurentiis/Instagram

Jade spent part of her summer away at camp, but the mother-daughter pair made sure to keep up even while apart. In August, De Laurentiis shared a cheeky montage of her gabbing on the phone while vacationing in New York City– "Jade's at camp, so anytime she gets the chance to call, I pick it up," says the TV hostess at the beginning of the video.

"Shane's really enjoying our trip 🤪," read De Laurentiis' caption, poking fun at her boyfriend behind the camera.