Montessori Secondary programs are rooted in hands-on, experiential learning. Rather than learning subjects in a vacuum, students are experiencing what they are learning and engaging with the curriculum.
Grade 7 and 8 students pulled off an impressive museum exhibition about Colonial America last Friday. Each student conducted in-depth research into a specific colony before creating a museum display that would reflect some aspects of the colonial society or culture of America.
The exhibition is the culmination of a social studies cycle called pedagogy of place. Deva, the Middle School Humanities Teacher, appreciated the enormous efforts students made in the project. “It helps them understand how the people, beliefs, economy, resources and geography of a place interact to form a unique society.”
“I decided to ask students to focus on colonial America in part because many of my students hope to study in the USA in the future,” said Deva. “Asking them to choose their own project and giving them the responsibility to figure out how to do it was also important, because adolescents need to develop a measure of self-reliance. Problem-solving, coping with setbacks, and time management were key as they designed and built their artifacts.”
The middle schoolers created replicas of weapons, tools, model ships, a model of a lighthouse, a beaver skin hat, maps, colonial charters, documents, portraits, illustrations, a cartoon, a sound recording and historical money that was passed out to the museum visitors. They also created museum labels to explain their display and acted as tour guides for the museum visitors. Behind the scenes, they also needed to create a work cited page tracing where their information came from.
Montessori Secondary programs, for Middle and High School students aged 12-18, respond to the adolescent’s need to exhibit creativity, to problem solve, to take responsibility, and to claim independence. It integrates rigorous academic studies with purposeful work, preparing teenagers to become contributing citizens who are self-confident and possess skills needed to thrive in society.