A final selection from our “three keys” series: some of the latest news from our Adolescent Program.
Alongside Ms. Corinne and Mr. Mike, students in our Adolescent Program (AP) have been immersed in the CMS Land Lab, a stretch of seven acres that includes grassy fields, a beautiful creek, and ample opportunities for exploration and research. When they aren’t at the Land Lab, they’re at the Green Trails Campus working on projects or holding seminar-style class meetings. One of their September activities at the Green Trails Campus was their Honey Extraction project. Mr. Walt, a guest to the AP and an expert with bees, explained and demonstrated the processes of removing wax from beekeeping frames, placing the frames into the motorized extractor, and watching it pull out the honey. All the students contributed to the sticky process of carving and extracting. The golden product of this effort? The future sale of this honey (almost seven gallons!) to contribute to the AP’s microeconomy.
Having the Land Lab has yields a whole new kind of prepared environment for the CMS student. The Land Lab itself, seemingly un-prepared, serves the exact needs of the Adolescent. Learning for the Adolescent should be, in the words of Dr. Montessori, a “brilliant and living thing.” While she suggested a farm for this level of education, the CMS Land Lab invites the same diversity, care, and large-scale effort that a farm setting would supply. One of the most critical aspects of the environment for the Adolescent, though, is really the people within their space—they long to explore society, economy, and strategy, and they can’t do that without peers to challenge and support them.
The Adolescent’s work on projects like honey extraction demonstrates the power of individual contributions to society at large, and becomes all the more palpable as they move into the collaborative (and competitive) efforts of a microeconomy as the year goes on. As they have developed, these students have grown into their particular strengths and can embrace and utilize those strengths by following personal threads of interest.
And, though it seems obvious, the Adolescents’ work on projects like the honey extraction and land cultivation provide deep and authentic hands-on involvement. This meets their desire for real engagement and productivity, both physically and intellectually, in their world.