Major Trips at Mildenhall Montessori Middle School
Pedagogy of Place
Adolescent students often struggle with their emerging identities and where they fit in the broader society. A crucial aspect of the middle school philosophy is called the “pedagogy of place,” focused on helping you to understand your role within the social, historical, economic, and geographical context of your environment. This physical connection to place is even more important when viewed through the lens of our current paradoxical society, where people — especially adolescents — are more connected than ever through technology, yet are increasingly disconnected from each other on a concrete, personal level. Pedagogy of place is implemented through weekly outings throughout the city, the Odyssey Trip in September, participation in the Montessori Model United Nations, and/or a Spring Trip.
In addition to weekly outings throughout the city, students will kick off the school year by embarking on a week-long camping trip, known as the “Odyssey Trip.” You will be responsible for packing and taking care of your dry bags, setting up tents, and organizing your food supplies (not to mention meal preparation and cleanup!). You will truly take ownership over the trip by having leadership opportunities which might include deciding on hiking/canoeing routes, scheduling meal times and menu planning, and/or choosing a campsite. On the Odyssey Trip collaboration, accountability, and personal responsibility are not simply virtues encouraged by teachers within the safe confines of a classroom, but are an absolute necessity in order to have a safe and enjoyable trip. This is an opportunity for adolescents to discover a little bit about themselves and their place among their peers, and to forge roles away from family. It is also a time to live lessons of geography, geology, history, and anthropology that are presented during the week.
Spring Trip (alternate years).
Every two years the Mildenhall Middle School students will take a 3 day trip to a location of their choosing. This trip will be planned, scheduled, and implemented by the students, including making reservations, mapping routes, and planning excursions. Based around a theme of study, each student will present information on a topic of their choosing related to the location; for example, its history, geography, architecture, politics, social services, or economy.
Montessori Model United Nations (alternate years)
A truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Mildenhall Montessori Middle School students have the opportunity to take part in an international conference: the Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN). The MMUN is a simulation of the United Nations General Assembly and other international diplomatic bodies. You will role play as ambassadors from UN member states and navigate all that that entails: drafting resolutions, making speeches, negotiating with allies and adversaries, and resolving conflicts — all in the interest of international cooperation. The Montessori format differs from the traditional format in that the students achieve resolutions based on collaboration and negotiation rather than debate.
Mildenhall students will be given a member state to represent, and we will devote a significant amount of in-class time to learning as much as we can about the history, economy, and foreign policy of that nation. There will also be excursions to the consulate/embassy and other cultural institutions, so that you can immerse yourself and feel as much a part of the assigned country’s society as possible.
The unit culminates with a three-day trip to New York City where students will have the opportunity to give speeches in the actual UN General Assembly.
To learn more about the conference, please visit: http://montessori-mun.org/