Elements of the Montessori Middle School Curriculum:
Opportunities for creative expression are provided in every aspect of the curriculum. Students have formal classes in Art, Music and Physical Education. These specialty areas will be guided by our current staff, with a new emphasis on expanding these experiences outside of the classroom and grounding them in real life opportunities. In addition, particular workshops will be guided by professionals in a range of subject areas, such as architecture and building, gardening, woodworking, fine arts, cooking, business, and technology. These workshops will be selected based on the students’ interests and spark curiosity to inspire further work in the area. This program also provides mentoring that is inspirational for young people.
Psychic (Cognitive-Emotional) Development:
Math, French and Writer’s Workshop classes focus on skills to be applied to all aspects of the curriculum. Participation in the Micro-economy – a student run business – allows opportunities for production and exchange, which addresses the adolescent’s vital need for economic independence. Community Service and Sexual/Emotional Education foster in the students a sense of social justice and a sense of personal dignity, both of which are particular sensitivities of the adolescent.
Preparation for Life:
Montessori identifies three main components in the preparation for life. These are: the study of the earth and living things, the study of human progress and the building up of civilization, and the study of the history of humankind (humanity). A focus on these allows the adolescent to see his or her own place in humanity and fosters in them a knowledge and respect for the earth and all its inhabitants. Generally considered humanities, literature, and sciences, the curriculum is presented as interconnected historically and contextually, providing the adolescent with a growing understanding of his or her place in space and time.
Students meet regularly in small advisor groups to address the concerns of the individuals and of the group as a whole. Often the agenda for these groups will include items such as time management, grace and courtesy, conflict resolution, peer interaction, and evaluation procedures. These groups are intentionally diverse in age, gender, strengths and challenges.
The prepared curriculum follows an intentionally sequential presentation of lessons from which students design their own individual projects, follow up presentations, and practice schedules. The program advisor meets with each advisee on a regular basis to assist in the support/challenge aspect of the young adolescent’s development. It may mean that the advisor checks the study calendar, examines a goal setting follow-up or a daily schedule, or simply offers the affirmation and support necessary for progress. The role of the advisor includes consulting with parents as well.
Students receive feedback on their progress by means of a variety of assessments, including rubrics, marks, self evaluations, peer evaluations and conferences. Formal report cards are given yearly.
The Middle School is led by Nick Raymond, an elementary and adolescent Montessori certified teacher, as well as an Ontario licensed teacher.
French, Music, Art, and Physical Education will be taught by our current specialist teachers and supplemented by workshop leaders.
The administration and advisory team of the Middle School program includes:
Rosie Cardarelli, M.Ed: Principal at The Mildenhall School and a Montessori certified teacher who has taught at all levels of the curriculum.
Matt Smith: Principal at Taddle Creek Montessori and a Montessori elementary and adolescent teacher, who has taught and designed a number of high quality adolescent programs in Ontario.
Anne Smith, Ph.D.: Head of Schools at Mildenhall Montessori Schools and a clinical child/adolescent psychologist.
Detailed Overview of the Curriculum.
Mathematics and Geometry
Through the use of math materials, each student is placed at his or her own academic level that will sustain previously learned math skills and appropriately challenge them. This program takes the students well into the study of algebra and has a large amount of problem solving which supports the other areas of practical implementation of mathematics.
The studies in English in the areas of writing and reading are generally centred on cultural themes. Supported by a weekly seminar study in small groups, students discuss readings and complete weekly writing through all aspects of the curriculum. The students are required to reflect on themes, events or readings in personal journals, allowing for creative expression and thought. The study of grammar and spelling permeate all aspects of writing.
This program encompasses all areas that help define our humanness: history, literature, politics and political geography, current events, and the arts. In alternating years, the focus will be around the transformation of humans through history both internationally and in our own country and city, followed by the growth of Canada as a country from indigenous peoples through to Confederation.
The science curriculum is based on the principles of Scientific Method and discovery. It examines the interdependence of humans and nature, both living and non-living. This involves studies in Ecology, Geology, Botany, Biology, Physics, and Chemistry over the course of the two year program.
The academic study of the history and influence of music is integrated into humanities studies. Additionally, practical study of a band instrument and the discipline required is taught separately through music sessions for each student. Each student will have a small sectional music class, a type of miniature master class, and one full band class.
Students continue their French studies in the areas of conversation, reading, writing, and grammar. As much as possible, French is integrated with other cultural studies and is another aspect of study of our own Canadian culture and history.
Visual art is also considered in our humanities studies and other areas of creative expression. In addition to weekly art lessons, at least one annual workshop will include a visiting artist who is a professional in his/her field to work for a specific period with the students. Students have the opportunity to be exposed to alternative styles of art and to learn more about the life of people who are professional artists.
Physical Education, Health and Wellness
This program looks at the health of the whole adolescent. It includes various physical activities, which are a combination of individual and hopefully lifelong sports, group sports, and the hard work of regular outdoor activities. Taken beyond the traditional in-school physical education program, activities may vary from curling, cross-country, traditional team sports, hiking, canoeing, fitness training, yoga, skiing, track and field, and swimming – all based on student interest. The physical aspect of the program is further complemented by presentations and discussions on human sexuality, nutrition, substance abuse, protection of self and others, and stress management.
Environmental Education for Sustainability
Environmental awareness and environmental education for sustainability is of great import within our adolescent curriculum. The primary goal within this aspect of the curriculum is to inspire and empower the community to take action, by preparing and equipping them with the skills and values to assume responsibility for creating and enjoying a sustainable future. Commitment to sustainability is practiced through a variety of science work projects; i.e. a study of the wetlands and woodlands of Ontario, creation of water conservation technologies, rainwater catchment facilities, recycling facilities, incorporation of solar panels, creation of school gardens, just to name a few.
Students are each provided with a Google Chrome laptop with appropriate applications for easy communication and sharing of ideas, projects, and assignments. They are also able to further their research through the Internet. However, it is emphasized that the computer is only one of many research tools. In addition, workshops on software use for word processing, mathematics, art and graphic design, and public speaking presentations are provided.
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