The Montessori Middle School Program, Grades 7 & 8
"Young people can become passionately involved doing calm, serene, beautiful work that enables their young personalities to develop and find worthwhile goals." "If young people at a certain point are called upon to take an active part in the life of humanity, they must first feel that they have a great mission to accomplish and prepare themselves for it."
Maria Montessori, Education and Peace
The middle school program at The Good Shepherd Catholic Montessori is based on Maria Montessori's view of the needs, abilities, and
- meaningful contexts forgreat potential of the young adolescent. The program provides a unique integration of a variety of components: learning, work, and adult-like experiences for the adolescent
- continued development of strong academic skills
- a strong community spirit
- growing maturity in spirituality and faith
- outdoor work with the hands
- complex, integrated learning projects
- community-based economy, offering adult-like roles and responsibilities to adolescents
A description of broad characteristics of the Montessori middle school program is below. For a detailed, comprehensive description of the The Good Shepherd Catholic Montessori Middle School Program, click here. This link takes you to our Middle School Handbook, which includes:
- History and Overview
- Leading Values and Guiding Principles
- Academic Program
- Key Experiences for the Adolescent
- Academic Expectations
- Community Service
- The Student & Parent Agreements
Further links with more examples of the program components are listed at the end of this web page.
The Good Shepherd Catholic Montessori Montessori offers a unique and challenging environment for our 7th and 8th grade students. Come see for yourself!
THE MONTESSORI MIDDLE SCHOOL PROGRAM: General Characteristics
This section is taken from the web site of the North American Montessori Teachers Association: www.montessori-namta.org
STUDY AND EXPLORATION AT A DEEPER LEVEL
Middle school ushers in a new level of independence, which must be provided for in the Montessori environment by increasing activity from the point of view of work level, choices, and planning. In the middle school, the Great Lessons, timelines, and charts are replaced with overviews of general sequences of learning for which the student becomes responsible in the context of an integrated whole. Within this overview, the student has open time to collaborate on both self-initiated and instructor-initiated projects.
Open time allows for individualized instruction, a natural pace for absorption of material presented for both mastery and emotional understanding, unlimited depth of pursuit based on student interest, and release time to study art, science, music, business, and other topics students choose.
The general premise for the adolescent program is that it must bring into consciousness the moral and world view of the elementary years. Philosophical ideas related to natural history and cultural history now come into play. Great Lessons evolve into great ideas derived from a serious approach to the humanities. For example, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" may be tied to a specific part of American history, but this ideal also has a life in the history of philosophy and literature.
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.
Service programs such as working in a soup kitchen, farming as a community venture, and apprenticeships or mentorships in the workplace are part of an advancing "going out" that gives the adolescent a combined vocational and liberal arts curriculum with a particular emphasis on economic enterprise.
THE MIDDLE SCHOOL CURRICULUM
The following curriculum areas are offered in the Montessori middle school:
- Social sciences, science, and geography: The student integrates history utilizing themes from earlier studies in natural and cultural history, including interdependency, evolution, life cycles, matter and energy, behavior and culture, mental health, physical health, agriculture, government, manufacturing, communication, world systems, earth preservation, and so on, in the context of social responsibility and governance. Primary readings from each historical period are emphasized.
- Language arts: The student develops confidence in self-expression utilizing the seminar, oral presentation, debates, drama, video, photography, essays, play-writing, poetry, and short stories; explores related accounts of historical and philosophical material through literature utilizing components of style, genre, characterization, interpretation, and the art of discussion.
- Second language and grammar: The student revisits grammar through the study of a second language and reviews complex sentences and paragraph structure in English.
- Mathematics: The student uses higher-order thinking skills to solve problems in relation to a variety of challenges, from practical money transactions to algebraic relationships; explores in-depth numbers, properties, simple equations, higher measurement, computer calculation and graphics, geometric proofs, and algebraic equations
- Religion: Middle school students explore the foundational core of the Catholic Church’s teachings and how these teachings can be applied in the daily lives of young adults. The students are invited to reflect on how Christ is inviting them to grow in a personal and more mature faith walk through personal and group prayer.
- Practical management: The student manages reality-based operations in economic enterprises including agriculture, fund-raisers, travel, volunteerism and service, apprenticeship, and computer programming.
- Fine arts: The student utilizes a discipline-based arts education plan which presents individual artistic areas of painting, acting, singing, composing, photography, dance, and sculpture, and includes a general education for aesthetic literacy which integrates the arts with other academic endeavors.
Other Middle School Links:
- Middle School Policies
- Units Curriculum of Study and Program Design Overview
- Cycle One Humanitites Studies
- Example of a Unit Study
- Discussion of the needs of the adolescent from a Montessori perspective
- Discussion of the importance of occupations in the formation of the adolescent
Statistical Research Link:
"A Comparison of Montessori and Traditional Middle schools: Motivation, Quality of Experience, and Social Context"
Research studies have shown that high skill, high challenge, motivation, and intrinsic motivation (all qualities found to be highest in the Montessori students) predict superior talent development in adolescent students.
Montessori practitioners and parents have long recognized the important but intangible benefits of the child's Montessori experience. Researcher Kevin Rathunde published groundbreaking research results that for the first time verify these benefits through scientific and statistical research. Deborah Gilbert, Ph.D., former GSCM parent and member of our Middle School Planning Committee, summarized Dr. Rathunde's research.
Click here for a research summary, "A Comparison of Montessori and Traditional Middle Schools: Motivation, Quality of Experience, and Social Context".