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The Montessori Adolescent Program
November 2nd, 2008 by Steve Thorpe

Gardening occupation students

The Montessori Adolescent Program

Montessori middle schools aim to foster the innate tendencies of adolescents, to provide the opportunity for them engage in meaningful work, to allow them to come to know themselves in the context of a community, and to give full expression to their sensitivity to social justice and personal dignity. Our programs provide our young adults with the tools and opportunities that they will need to become meaningful participants in our world while building the skills, confidence, and vision that will enable them to follow their dreams, united in head, hand, and heart.

Adolescents need an environment that takes a developmental approach to this sometimes tumultuous period that spans childhood and adulthood. They need a place that is much closer to the adult world than traditional education provides. Montessori adolescent programs seek to create an environment in which students experience themselves as knowledgeable, capable, and confident while engaged in activity that is inherently meaningful. Maria Montessori spoke of this process as “valorization”, through which students develop confidence in their abilities and accomplishments through real work within the context of a community. It comes about when one knows, through his or her own experience, that she or he in capable. We want our students to leave our Montessori programs practicing the skills, acquiring the insights, and developing the social ease they will need in order to successfully navigate the adult world and help solve the problems confronting us, both today and in the future.

Bee-keeping occupation students

The Montessori middle school provides a project-based approach to education that puts students in charge of their environment, taking on occupation such as gardening, bee keeping, and food preparation, as well giving then tools for economic independence through the microeconomy. As they take on adult-like roles and responsibilities within the various areas of the program, they learn the science, math, and practical skills necessary for them to become as progressively more independent in their ventures.

Adolescents need a community in which they can learn, practice, and master the social skills that will open up pathways of leadership for them in the adult world. These skills include communication, teamwork, conflict resolution as well as entrepreneurial skills and project management. Montessori adolescents lean these skills “on the job”, side by side with caring adults, as they participate in goal driven, project based programs.

Collaboration between Montessori middle school practitioners in the elaboration and fulfillment of this vision is the primary goal of Montessori Life.


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