a large outdoor green space under a bright blue sky, with an orchard and fences
Like all Montessori-prepared environments, the Adolescent community is devoted exclusively to meeting the needs of students ages 12-15. Our model for the Adolescent program will be Erdkinder, Maria Montessori’s term for the adolescent child, which translates (from German) as “children of the earth” and reflects the importance of intentionally connecting the child and the environment.
The Montessori Adolescent program presents middle school students with a unique opportunity to work and study on a farm/garden. Linking meaningful, hands-on work with rigorous academic study, the experience supports adolescents in answering their most important questions: “Who am I?” “How do I fit in?” and “What is my contribution going to be?”
The Montessori Adolescent Program is committed to harnessing the power of adolescent development guided by the following core principles:
- The learning environment must be authentic.
- Students must have a role that matters to the community.
- Students must be able to do physical work and intellectual study that fully engages them.
- All work must be clearly linked to practical problems and solutions.
- The academic disciplines are not subjects to be studied. They are lenses through which we examine our world and the human activity within it.
Learning From the Land
At the center of all levels of Montessori education sits the prepared environment. And for the adolescent, that environment is a farm/garden. Not just a rural setting, but a working agricultural enterprise complete with gardens to tend, forest land to manage, fields for grazing, tilling, and haying, livestock to feed and herd, and a community within which to play a meaningful role.
As students leave childhood behind and anticipate their lives as adults, they enter a period of vulnerability. During this period they need both protection and real challenges. As both individuals and participants in society, they need opportunities to develop their skills and passions, outlets to express their ideas, and experiences that present them with real problems to solve.