"Thinking and memory that is enhanced by creativity and imagination."
What Happens When Montessori Meets Teenagers?
As Maria Montessori’s methods gain popularity in public pre-K and elementary classrooms, educators are beginning to understand how (and why) the philosophy translates to high school, too.
Students study core subjects, but in a setting that encourages creativity, collaboration, and self-pacing. On a day-to-day level, the classroom is prepared for the student to come in and engage right away. The teacher sets the objective and supplies materials throughout the room, but each student has a unique work plan that requires them to plan and prioritize how they’ll meet the objective. Students work in uninterrupted, independent blocks, allowing them to engage with their work, collaborate with others, or participate in small group lessons and one-on-one instruction.
We really focus on cross-curricular connections through our “cycle of study” themes. The current theme for freshmen and sophomores is “dystopia/utopia.” In biology, they’re studying evolution and different environmental pressures. In English, they’re reading dystopian novels and comparing that to the utopia they’re trying to create.
One of her only writings on adolescence is an essay called “Erdkinder,” or Earth Child. She believed adolescents need to go out and have experiences where they learn to be self-sufficient. How we interpret that is to get our kids off campus and connecting with nature. She also believed that physically challenging experiences are really important to the development of the whole child.
Montessori is known for peacemaking, and I’d say I’m on the more radical end of that. I believe it takes equity to achieve peace, and to achieve equity takes action. We’re able to have conversations about our place in the universe, and that can connect to conversations about peace and sustainability. Kids are able to ask themselves, “Rather than waiting for a better world, how do we create the world we want to see?”
The high school program meets five days a week, from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. In addition, both before- and after-school opportunities are available to all high school students.
The ability to make choices and achieve the set goals within the time limit is a learned skill. The ability to follow through on this helps children reach the self-discipline and independence necessary for future accomplishments. At the end of individual work time, the high school students prepare for lunch by cleaning and setting the tables. This is also a time for singing songs and sharing stories written during the morning session. Hand washing, good table manners, and proper conversation are part of the lunchtime experience. Afternoon work time is usually spent in large group presentations in the areas of science, geography, or history. Art and Gym instruction is also included during this time.
FRESHMAN YEAR 1 ▪ Algebra I ▪ English Language Arts I ▪ Physical Science ▪ Modern World History ▪ World Languages ▪ Physical Education/Health Wellness SOPHOMORE YEAR 2 ▪ Music ▪ Geometry ▪ English Language Arts II ▪ American History ▪ Biology ▪ Physical Education/Health Wellness JUNIOR YEAR 3 ▪ English Language Arts III ▪ Algebra II ▪ Chemistry ▪ American Government ▪ Music ▪ Computer Sciences ▪ Physical Education SENIOR YEAR 4 ▪ English Language Arts IV ▪ Calculus ▪ Physics ▪ Psychology ▪ Visual Arts ▪ Computer Sciences ▪ Physical Education
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