Ages 12-13 years old (7th - 8th grade)
Our school began offering an authentic Montessori adolescent program beginning fall 2013. The description below is from http://www.montessori-namta.org/The-Montessori-Middle-School-Program
Middle school ushers in a new level of independence, which must be provided for in the Montessori environment by increasing activity from the point of view of work level, choices, and planning. In the middle school, the Great Lessons, timelines, and charts are replaced with overviews of general sequences of learning for which the student becomes responsible in the context of an integrated whole. Within this overview, the student has open time to collaborate on both self-initiated and instructor-initiated projects.
Open time allows for individualized instruction, a natural pace for absorption of material presented for both mastery and emotional understanding, unlimited depth of pursuit based on student interest, and release time to study art, science, music, business, and other topics students choose.
The general premise for the adolescent program is that it must bring into consciousness the moral and world view of the elementary years. Philosophical ideas related to natural history and cultural history now come into play. Great Lessons evolve into great ideas derived from a serious approach to the humanities. For example, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" may be tied to a specific part of American history, but this ideal also has a life in the history of philosophy and literature.
Consistent with the moral relationships stressed in the elementary program, the adolescent can make great cognitive leaps while integrating ideas and values in conjunction with current events, home life, or community activities.
Service programs such as working in a soup kitchen, farming as a community venture, and apprenticeships or mentorships in the workplace are part of an advancing "going out" that gives the adolescent a combined vocational and liberal arts curriculum with a particular emphasis on economic enterprise.
Social sciences, science, and geography:
The student integrates history utilizing themes from earlier studies in natural and cultural history, including interdependency, evolution, life cycles, matter and energy, behavior and culture, mental health, physical health, agriculture, government, manufacturing, communication, world systems, earth preservation, and so on, in the context of social responsibility and governance. Primary readings from each historical period are emphasized.
The student develops confidence in self-expression utilizing the seminar, oral presentation, debates, drama, video, photography, essays, play-writing, poetry, and short stories; explores related accounts of historical and philosophical material through literature utilizing components of style, genre, characterization, interpretation, and the art of discussion.
Second language and grammar: The student revisits grammar through the study of a second language and reviews complex sentences and paragraph structure in English.
The student uses higher-order thinking skills to solve problems in relation to a variety of challenges, from practical money transactions to algebraic relationships; explores in-depth numbers, properties, simple equations, higher measurement, computer calculation and graphics, geometric proofs, and algebraic equations.
The student manages reality-based operations in economic enterprises including agriculture, fund-raisers, travel, volunteerism and service, apprenticeship, and computer programming.
The student utilizes a discipline-based arts education plan which presents individual artistic areas of painting, acting, singing, composing, photography, dance, and sculpture, and includes a general education for aesthetic literacy which integrates the arts with other academic endeavors.
The student engages in elements of farming as an economic enterprise through the care of plants and animals, the maintenance of simple machines, the understanding of land use, and the operations of accounting, sales, personnel records, and working relations in ongoing projects.