Adolescent Program

The Adolescent Program provides age-appropriate academic, physical and social challenges. It is an authentic community experience wherein each student is called upon to contribute large and small acts of leadership. This environment allows for reflection, creative self-expression, debate and hands-on connection to the land, the surrounding community and the world. The adolescent program extends the Montessori model, allowing for better preparedness for high school and beyond.

This level serves students in 7th and 8th grades in a small, close-knit community. The classroom currently has two certified Montessori adolescent guides as well as specialist teachers who work to bring the program to life. Students enjoy one of our newer buildings, as well as access to the Spark Center for music and art, physical education, and science lab. In addition, an abundant outdoor space provides several prepared environments, including a vegetable garden and constructed wetlands.

Just as Maria Montessori believed the elementary student entered a new plane of development at the age of six, the adolescent is beginning a new developmental plane around age 12. As such, we provide our young people with a developmentally appropriate environment in which to grow and learn based on the principles that Dr. Montessori laid out for this plane. Early adolescence is a time of great social, emotional and physical transformation, in which the power of the group is paramount. Therefore, our daily schedule is built around the idea of project-based, experiential, group work. It allows for scheduled meetings and group mini-lessons for some classes, and large blocks of uninterrupted work time for others.

Weather Station

Our adolescent students worked diligently to get a weather station up and running on the MCS campus. We are reporting weather data from our campus in real-time on Weather Underground.

Eight Subtle Differences in our Adolescent Program

  • Self-Reflection, Self-Expression, Character Development

    Mindfulness lessons aimed at developing self-awareness and conscious decision making cultivate the ability to respond rather than a react

    Creative Expression opportunities allow for exploration of the self in the context of key questions such as: Who am I? Where do I fit in? What can I contribute? Examples of Creative Expression include cooking, dance, campus art, improvisation, ukulele, theatrical productions (tech and acting), and ceramics

    Morning review of current events and subsequent discussion fosters a knowledge of geography and an understanding of our role in the greater world

  • Ambitious Experiential Trips

    Fall: Community Building Trip (Aug/Sept)

    Spring: Peace Study Trip

    End of Year: 8th Year Solo Rite of Passage

  • Preparation for the Adult World Through Occupations

    Cool Beans coffee business introduces students to production and exchange through participation in regular the day-to-day business operations, record keeping, inventory management, marketing strategy/initiatives, and new product launches

    Students teach primary elders (kindergarteners) science labs taking the lead for planning lessons, gathering materials, and teaching

    Tending to the community garden nurtures an appreciation for the care and maintenance of the garden, the natural environment, and the gifts of the Earth

    Seasonal harvests are incorporated into our bi-weekly, student-prepared Community Meals

    Occupations are supplemented by the Stock Market Game and discussions regarding topics in economics as part of the math curriculum

  • Student Choice

    Choosing science topics for in-depth individual exploration drawn from current scientific publications and choosing individual Science Expo topics

    Choosing literature for discussion and topics for writing

    Choosing project work from an array of options within themes in humanities

    Creative Expression and Occupations are taught in 6-week rotations so students can choose to gain exposure to multiple areas throughout the year

    Community Meeting encourages group decision-making and fosters interdependence and self-governance

  • Assessment that is Honest/Informative

    7 point rubric assesses the level of mastery; it is not a numerical grade

    The rubric and accompanying comments provide feedback that students need without placing emphasis on a value judgment

    The rubric allows students to go beyond what is asked and to grow into adult-type initiative-taking

    Teachers adapt assignments and curriculum to provide the appropriate level of challenge, and accompanying support for each individual student

  • Cross-Curricular Integration of Subject Matter

    Teachers work together to emphasize cross-curricular connections

    Subject study is not discipline-specific but integrates various lenses through which to view the material

    Class projects and trips often bring together multiple disciplines in support of a common objective

  • Small, but not too Small

    Carnegie Report on adolescence: in early adolescence, smaller schools are critical to nurturing the mind at the most delicate stage of development since infancy

    Big enough so that there are opportunities for a variety of peers, but students cannot run from their problems; they must face them, and work with those who are not necessarily their best friends

    Each student has an advisor who brings together the student, parents, and teachers to work in concert in support of the student’s needs

    Time is set aside for what is important to adolescents – resolution and discussion of social issues

  • Emphasis is on Learning How to Learn While Developing Competence and Confidence

    It takes a village – the program relies on a large team of passionate teachers with expertise in specific subjects, but knowledge and/or curiosity in many areas, to guide (or follow) the child as appropriate

    Curriculum’s emphasis is not on “coverage” but on redo/review/revise to understand

    Curriculum expects the best of adolescents and recognizes the adolescent’s immense creativity and capacity to learn

    Executive functioning skills are explicitly taught (time management, note taking, physical organization, communication, creative problem solving)

    Work deadlines are set but may be adjusted as necessary on basis of real workload and teachers conferring