Curriculum in Middle School
(ages 12-14)

The Evergreen Community

 

Our middle school program is designed to nurture and encourage the growing independence of adolescent students and to instill in them the “noble confidence” they will need to meet life’s many challenges.

 

Cultivating Meaningful Occupations

Dr. Maria Montessori outlined the Third Plane of Development, or Adolescence (ages 12-18), as a time when students are undergoing great physical, mental, and emotional changes, when they are primarily socially motivated and when friendships can often seem more important than family.

“Order and discipline must be aimed at the attainment of human harmony. This end cannot be reached without practical and concrete effort. It is not enough to preach an abstract principle or to persuade others. A ‘great work’ must be undertaken.”

– Dr. Maria Montessori, Education and Peace

 

Outlining a syllabus for this divergent time in development, Dr. Montessori noted that students are also hungry to work on the land at real, authentic tasks, calling them “Erdkinder” or “land children.”

 

Like other Montessori middle school programs, the Evergreen classroom offers “Occupations” within the larger middle school curriculum, which combines academic coursework with real work of the hands that looks very much like a vocation or a job.

 

Our Occupations model allows students to engage in a traditional Montessori work-cycle each morning and Occupations work each afternoon at an offsite, privately-owned apple orchard.

 

Middle School Mastery

Students receive three-period lessons in new concepts during the morning work cycle as well as in Occupations. This includes direct lessons, follow-up practice, and demonstration of mastery.

 

When they are studying Latin, for instance, students first practice the concept through exercises and translations until they master the concept by constructing and translating unique sentences.

 

An expert horticulturist may present a lesson where the students then practice the work, execute the follow-up tasks, and analyze the results of their work. Because the work is hands-on, the mastery is evident in the success of the task. 

 

The healthy, nurturing, academic environment of the Evergreen community at SVCMS supports the adolescent student in learning and practicing real work from experts in their fields and contributing to their community, where students learn that they are meaningful contributors and have a place in the world. 

 

Students experience a great deal of independence surrounding the organization of their time and productivity around self-selected deadlines in both components of the program. They choose how to respond to projects.

 

The Community Micro-economy

The products of their labor in the Occupations help form a class micro-economy where they learn to manage money and make business decisions. They make decisions concerning finances, purchases, advertising, sales, etc. in the classroom that will impact their Occupations.

 

Art Studio Occupation

In the Art Studio, students receive lessons in a variety of artistic media and crafts. They create works for creative expression and also to sell – all profits contribute to the class micro-economy.

 

Recent art lessons include printmaking, photography, pottery, felting, embroidery, and basket weaving. The students sell their art at the annual Winter Art Studio Sale, the Boulder County Farmers’ Market, and at a weekly farm stand held at The Grove during and after dismissal.

 

Alternative Agriculture Occupation

This Occupation includes two forms of farming: the Apple Orchard and an aquaponics system. Students care for the trees, harvest, process, and sell the apples. They also maintain a 200-gallon fish tank and two grow beds to produce tilapia, catfish, greens, and herbs.

 

Practical Life

On a daily basis, students work on Practical Life skills. This work of the hands can include cooking, organizing, shopping, team-building, running a meeting, and managing the jobs calendar.

 

Peace Curriculum

The peace curriculum at this level stresses the need for inner peace and a sense of community peace as the students work closely together on large-scale projects.

 

Interested in joining the St. Vrain Community Montessori School community?

Check out our K-8 Enrollment information to learn more about joining our middle school program.

St. Vrain Community Montessori School (SVCMS) is a public K-8 charter school in the St. Vrain Valley School District. Our tuition-based Preschool and tuition-free Kindergarten, Elementary, and Middle School programs offer an authentic Montessori education in a standards-aligned environment.

© 2017 by St. Vrain Community Montessori School

 

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