“Adolescence is the sensitive period for developing feelings of justice and personal dignity. These feelings are the most noble of characteristics and ought to prepare the young adult to become a social being.”
Dr. Maria Montessori
The Sewickley Montessori Middle School at MCC provides an academically challenging program designed to meet the social, academic, physical, and emotional needs of adolescents in grades 7 and 8. The course of study includes math, language, science, social studies, geography, history, art, music, technology, and physical education. The adolescent students will be participating in out-of-the-classroom experiences that will provide experiential learning opportunities.
Adolescence is a period of physical, emotional, social and intellectual growth. Sewickley Montessori Middle School’s goal is to meet the developmental needs of young adolescents by providing a challenging academic environment that encourages their natural growth, fosters independence and is connected to the “outside” world while working in a close-knit community of peers and adults.
The Adolescent and His/Her Needs:
Montessori calls this the Third Plane of Development – a period of creative transformation. The rapid physical growth of adolescents is accompanied by intense hormonal activity. The energy needed during this rapid growth can sometimes diminish the energy available to concentrate on academic work. The brain is undergoing significant re-organization. Structured academics can be difficult for the adolescent. SMMS @ MCC will channel the energy and challenge of the adolescent years into positive experiences. The central role of the program is to initiate young people into the world of adult work. Adolescents are asking:
- Who am I?
- Where do I fit into society?
- How can I be of use?
“The thing that is important above everything else is that the adolescent should have a life of activity and variety.”
Montessori advocated that the adolescent curriculum be designed around “Pedagogy of Place”. This methodology provides a place for work or study, a village-like environment, in which all members experience belonging, engagement, shared responsibility, achievement, an awareness of the significance of their contribution and worth. This provides an investment in each other and in the Occupations and projects generated by the community.
The curriculum is not a straightforward inventory of subjects as in traditional school. SMMS @ MCC will develop the adolescent intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally.
The curriculum is divided into 3 domains:
- intellectual development
- preparation for adult life
The curriculum is interwoven with the intellectual and self-expression domains having a particularly strong cross-curricular orientation. The core academic program adheres and exceeds Pennsylvania State Standards. The interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to allow students to learn at their own pace and to connect ideas/concepts across subjects.
Montessori identified the key needs of adolescents to be variety, social interaction, and meaningful work which prepares them for adulthood. She also recognized their intense need to be physically active.
The middle school experience will be the culmination of the student’s earlier education. The level of independence that they will achieve, the confidence that they will gain and the concepts that they will master will enable them to be successful in their future endeavors.
The adolescent curriculum is a “society” and relates to the needs of a particular community. While traditional education often teaches facts that are isolated from life outside the classroom, the Sewickley Montessori Middle School program offers lessons with practical applications that allow students to make improvements within their community. “What will I use this for?” is an often-asked question of the adolescent, as he is determined to use knowledge to DO something in the world. Projects such as monitoring the water in the Ohio River and Sewickley Creek or building and maintaining a garden that will provide food for others are real world opportunities for many lessons in science, language arts, and practical life skills. Students work as a group to run a business, to find ways of making money – their first direct experiences with the economic connections in a society. The success of earning money for a job well-done is a strong source of validation for the adolescent’s skills and contributions. The city of Pittsburgh and the Sewickley community are perfect areas for adolescents to explore physics, architecture, bridges, culture, history, transportation, ecology, technology, and business.
Do Children have to have Montessori experience from an early age to attend MCC’s Elementary or Adolescent programs?
NO, although students benefit from the integrated curriculum and experiential learning.
Children are generally adaptable and a Montessori education is designed to maximize the
Who should consider Montessori for their Child?
The answer to this is ANYONE, but specifically
- Children who are bored in traditional schools
- Children who seem to have lost their spark for learning
- Children who are curious and love learning
As in our other classrooms, the Montessori Middle School Teachers must have Montessori Adolescent Teaching Training. NAMTA (North America Montessori Teachers Association) certifies teachers once a year at the Hershey Farm School in Cleveland OH. Due to the unique nature of this program, 65 teachers from all over the world are chosen to attend this 5 week intense training program. Laurie Ewert-Krocker, who began the Hershey Farm School in Huntsburg, Ohio, leads this Middle School training and is also our school’s consultant as we embark on this exciting new experience.
For more information about our program, please call the office and arrange a time to visit the classroom.