The CMS Adolescent program provides a unique opportunity for seventh and eighth grade students. Dr. Montessori’s vision for the adolescents has been translated into a curriculum by the Association Montessori International (AMI) and the North American Montessori Teachers Association (NAMTA). The program differs from traditional schools in its emphasis on learning, through meaningful projects on the land where work and challenges occur naturally. The school has acquired the use of a beautiful and natural seven-acre property near Dr. Edmund A. Babler State Park in Wildwood, Missouri. Students visit the land regularly and use this land as a resource for their studies (a “Land Lab”). High academic performance is achieved through active learning, and by cultivating students’ natural desire to learn and to be creative. Students acquire the knowledge and skills to solve complex problems through interactions in the classroom, on the school grounds, and in the community.
The program is designed specifically to take advantage of the adolescent’s proclivity toward dialog within a social context.. Rather than learning through textbooks and lecture alone, the “art of the seminar” allows for the development of clear, thoughtful verbal communication and critical thinking through student-led discussions based on assigned reading. Seminars provide a far-reaching platform for academic studies, including humanities, language, math, and literature, and help students make connections between their studies and the world around them.
The Montessori adolescent teacher is a generalist, and is trained by NAMTA and AMI to guide students’ learning and exploration in a number of subject areas. Specialists are brought in to supplement the teacher in their specific subjects of expertise. The course of study includes algebra, geometry, sciences including biology and chemistry; humanities including history and literature, and a second language. To support our students’ evolving need to understand who they are and where they fit in, we foster creative expression through art, music, drama, physical education, and reflective writing. Explorations in the community lead to the development of interview skills. Students develop a viable business of their own as a vehicle for learning about business development, planning, marketing, finances, banking, customer service, product development and the manufacturing of a product for sale.
The benefit of practical and common-sense knowledge learned in real-life situations gives students the ability to make connections in a very profound way, and also provides the satisfaction of accomplishment and making a difference. The opportunity to solve real problems allows students direct access to concepts and areas of study, including mathematics, science and humanities. The constructive peer group and our supportive school family at CMS help to celebrate the challenges and opportunities of the “magical time of adolescence.” Students leave well prepared for high school: they have acquired a deep understanding of the material they have studied, and have a positive, collaborative approach to education and learning, along with beautiful social skills.
Click here to visit the CMS Adolescent Program’s blog.