Adolescent Program

7th and 8th Grade
7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Philosophy

Mountain West Montessori is proud to announce the second year of its Middle School Program. The Adolescent Community opened its doors in August 2011. This program bases its educational principles in the Montessori Pedagogy also known as ErdKinder (Middle Shool).

Dr. Montessori’s model of secondary education is based on her understanding of the developmental needs and learning tendencies of early adolescents. As they transitioned physically, cognitively, socially, emotionally, and morally to adulthood, Montessori believed that the demands of puberty warranted a holiday from traditional lecture-based instruction. She envisioned a school where children would grow their own food and live close to nature, she called her program the Erdkinder, which translates from the Dutch as “the children of the Earth” or “children of the land.”

Instead of confining students to classrooms, she proposed a small community of teenagers and adults located in a rural setting, thereby developing a deep sense of their connection to the land and nature in order to value of work. She envisioned students, under adult supervision, managing a hostel or hotel for visiting parents. The students would sell farm goods and other products in their own store. These farm management and store economics would form the basis of meaningful program that would help them accomplish two key developmental tasks: becoming psychologically and economically independent. The main goal of this independence is to prepare the adolescent to escape from the pettiness of traditional schooling and engage seriously in the realities of life in society. In other words, she proposed that the residential community, with its artificially created social laboratory, will prove to be of most value in the completion of the development of mature, well adjusted young adults.

Areas of Study

The Erdkinderor Middle School curriculum encourages self-expression through, art, public speaking, and theater. Students would also study languages, mathematics, science, history of civilizations, cultures, and technological innovations. For many years, the idea of a residential farm school was explored, but considered impractical. This is the main reason why after all the research done, most Montessori Middle School programs attempt to incorporate as many Erdkinder components as possible into their working spaces without incorporating all of the original elements.

Taking the previous research into account, the program offered by Mountain West Montessori is implementing a SEMI-URBAN model. Here, students come from home every day and are able to experience their learning process based on the cosmic education; a principle that Maria Montessori developed for her previous levels. At the same time, students from our community will have the opportunity to connect with the land that surrounds them, since our orchard provides the space necessary for their hands-on experience. This year’s curriculum includes a carpentry workshop as well as physical education and theater classes.

Field Trips

Trips to museums, special presentations, interest-based sites, 3 day trip to the city and the preparation to the Montessori Model United Nations are done by the children in the adolescent level as a group.

Evaluation

We provide a qualitative evaluation of each child’s development, taking into account the child as a whole. Children will be evaluated for their work in class, their every day attendance and attitude, as well as by presenting written examinations to reflect the knowledge that they have acquired through a given period of time. Child's self evaluation and commitment to specific goals is part of the evaluation process.