"But, above all it is the education of adolescents that is important, because adolescence is the time
when the child enters on the state of [adulthood] and becomes a member of society." – Maria Montessori
In the words of an Alumni Parent:
“Highly recommend! A middle school program to be celebrated, not "endured."
My child continues to reap the benefits of his years at The Montessori School.”
- Gwenna Williamson
The Montessori Middle School supports the development of the adolescent through project-based, experiential learning in an environment specifically designed to meet the individual needs of each student. The adolescent period, between the ages of 12 – 14 years old, is a stage of rapid growth in all areas of development; physical, physiological, social and emotional. Adolescence is the gateway from childhood into young adulthood. During this highly creative and physical maturation, the need for independence and autonomy deepens and evolves and must be carefully nurtured and tended.
“Consistent with the moral relationships stressed in the Elementary Program, the adolescent can make great cognitive leaps while integrating ideas and values in conjunction with current events, home life, or community activities.” (NAMTA)
In addition to a strong focus on academic and physical development, the Adolescent Program builds and cultivates advanced life skills including conflict resolution, problem-solving, community and individual accountability, healthy life choices, and environmental responsibility in a safe and stable environment.
During Middle School years the adolescent naturally strives to understand personal identity in the context of the larger world. Defining an individual’s place in society, beyond and outside of family and school, is an important aspect of development at this stage. The Montessori Middle School’s carefully designed curriculum encourages and promotes freedom and responsibility as students develop and grow into independent, passionate, and engaged leaders in society.
The Adolescent Program offers students a rigorous academic curriculum coupled with enrichment opportunities and real-world experiences. Students schedules include lessons, concentrated work periods, and school-wide service projects Monday through Thursday. Lessons are introduced by our highly trained Middle School Faculty and are interactive, collaborative, dynamic, and hands on. Broader engagements beyond campus are a unique, integral and exciting extension of the classroom and learning. Fridays are typically reserved for Going Out experiences in the local community and beyond.
Experiencing life in the local community, as well as society at large, is an important aspect of the Adolescent Program. The program includes day and overnight field trips, student-directed studies, apprenticeships, long-term projects, and student-run businesses.
Students are immersed in service-learning during the academic year. Understanding the importance of being in service to others and the environment is a cornerstone of the program and helps shape the developing adolescent. Students are encouraged to research and introduce new initiatives and are supported through the process of translating an idea into a real and meaningful community project and opportunity.
Maria Montessori’s vision included real-world and real-life experiences beyond the classroom as practical situations for applying, testing and expanding skills and knowledge. Important and unique to the Montessori Middle School program are expeditions and outdoor work based on Dr. Montessori’s utilization of the extended classroom and the respect and responsibility inherent in meaningful encounters with the earth and nature. Students are challenged physically and mentally in the outdoors in personal and collaborative situations offering circumstances that require each individual to push limits, tackle challenges, find solutions, build confidence and strength and heighten self-awareness. Navigating and exploring rivers, mountains, lakes, forests, and beaches are non-traditional learning environments that further play a role in shaping adolescent character, growth and development.
Students connect with local schools and organizations to expand social and educational relationships. Through shared experiences and partnerships, these connections introduce new perspectives, refine listening and communication, and expand effective team-work skills.
Political, economic, social and cultural histories are studied, ensuring students gain a grounded and comprehensive perspective of what has shaped our world. Through class discussions, literature, readings and examining primary and secondary sources, students are challenged to understand and evaluate decisions and policies that influence the development and identity of past and present civilizations. The first year’s focus is on American History, while the second is on World History.
Students begin in the classroom developing critical thinking skills which further enhance their decision making and public speaking abilities. This subject’s in-depth work culminates in a four day stay in New York City, participating in the Montessori Model United Nations program. Students represent a nation of the world, creating and publicly presenting position papers on real world issues and a display board representing the country’s culture. The linear progression of the project ensures each student’s ability to develop profound knowledge on issues vital to the United Nations agenda and their contribution to shaping the future of our world.
Students research ideas and gather information, formulate ideas, create and support a strong thesis in critical expository and persuasive essays, and compose expressive writing that shows evidence of knowledge of the structures and conventions of written standard English. Students begin the year reading a variety of texts focusing on authors’ intent and character studies. In a seminar-type setting, students explore reading responses, question character motivation, and develop discussion skills.
All math courses begin with a review of problem-solving strategies and applications. Pre-tests are given to determine the skill level of each student for placement. Frequent assessments in the form of scheduled chapter tests, weekly quizzes, vocabulary tests and graded homework are part of each course. Based on each person’s mathematic abilities, students will be introduced to Algebra Readiness, Pre-Algebra, and Algebra.
A focus on Life Sciences which includes the needs of living things, structure and function connection, cell theory, cell life and functions, cell specialization, disease, food webs, behavior and regulation, diversity in structures and function, speciation, biological adaptation, genetics, evolution and extinction. Students also study the human body and its systems to understand themselves.
Students use technology as an important tool for learning and communication. Understanding online best practices, practical skills, keyboard mastery and research strategies support all aspects of learning in the Adolescent Program.
Students have the opportunity to work with Specialists in the areas of Art, Music, Gym and Spanish. These classes naturally integrate aspects of the academic curriculum through an inter-disciplinary approach to learning.