Adolescence: The Infancy of Adulthood

Adolescence is a unique journey in the development of humans:  they are entering a period of physical, social, and emotional growth  every bit as dramatic as the first six years of life; a time of self-focus and self-judgement as well as critical thinking and re-evaluation.  Adolescence is the infancy of adulthood—an onerous yet exhilarating feat of human development which is the beginning of the final journey into maturity.

Our Adolescent program is the highest point attainable in our students’ Montessori experiences, and follows completion of a Montessori Elementary program.  MSMV is one of only a few hundred Montessori schools in the United States that offers an Adolescent, or “Erdkinder” experience for students just entering the Third Plane of Development. Montessori Adolescent classrooms  prepare those in this last stage of childhood for adult life by meeting the child’s social and emotional needs, which allows further academic growth.

Construction of the Social Self and Emotional Independence

“Who am I?  Who am I in relation to others in society?  How can I be of service to others within our society?”  These are the questions of the Adolescent; our Program aims to assist students undertaking these explorations.  The curriculum connects areas of study with real world applications, enabling students to recognize their relevance in the world.

From ages 12 to 14, your child experiences enormous changes in individual maturity and growth.  The needs of young adults are unique, in that it is important that they experiment with personality and individuality as they assess their place in the world. Personal dignity and social justice become critical at this time. Our Adolescent coursework is designed to give your child a sense of identity, purpose, and belonging. 

Building on the Elementary Program

Expectations of students entering the Adolescent program are high-level independence, initiative and self-motivation in work, working collaboratively with ease, and the passion for learning.  These young adults deal with each other respectfully, with understanding and acceptance of differences, similarities, strengths and challenges.  As an Adolescent student, your child will be working in a safe community in which the connections between self and society are explored and examined.

Having largely left behind the Montessori materials of the Elementary period, Adolescent students use their knowledge, scientific thinking, and emotional IQ developed in Elementary to link themselves to their future lives as adults.  Research materials, text books, discussion circles, and experiential learning through projects and real life applications become the primary tools used in the learning process.

Preparation for School Life Beyond Montessori

Just as he has throughout his Montessori education, your child’s progress is not measured through letter grades.  Narrative comments are provided by teachers, both written and through discussions, which help your child make important discoveries about his efforts toward fulfilling his best potential.  A basic points or percentage scale is available for most assignments, by which students can satisfy the natural Adolescent tendency to compare one’s self to one’s peers if they so choose.

Daily scheduling of math and Latin afford the benefits of daily practice of these subjects. To meet the adolescent’s need to belong and collaborate in larger groups, the day is scheduled so larger groups of students are working on the same subject simultaneously. Block scheduling of subjects such as the Sciences, History, Literature, and Occupations allows your child to study for longer, more concentrated periods through a rotating weekly cycle of classes, with the expectation that each student will fully contribute to the best of his or her ability. Adolescent students further hone their at-home time-management skills through daily, weekly, and monthly homework assignments and projects.

The Classroom Society

Learning within meaningful context is a hallmark of Montessori education. The difference for Adolescent students is that context has an elevated level of responsibility and import.  Students work together to take on meaningful environmental work such as monitoring the Yellow Creek watershed or assisting university research scientists with testing for pollution in Lake Erie.  They learn as a group about economics through Small Business Applications--the running of several small businesses, including food service, gardening, shipping, and retain sales.  The money earned through these small businesses enables them to plan excursions and overnight trips relating to other areas of their curriculum.

Pre-College Preparatory Academics

Our rigorous academic program builds to a crescendo in the Adolescent Program.  Students leaving our Adolescent Program—after many years of Montessori education—are ready for any high school they choose.  Most of our Adolescent graduates elect to participate in Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses as early as their freshman year of high school.

  • Math
  • Language Arts
  • Cultural Studies

Adolescent students complete a course in pre-Algebra in their first year of Adolescents, and Algebra I in their second, which creates an easy transition to high school math.  The Adolescent math curriculum includes use of variables, order of operations, probability, graphing, integer division, polynomials, translations, ration proportions, and more.

Application of previously learned concepts are reinforced within the context of written work, the reading of diverse literature and articles, as well as the study of Latin at this level.  Across the curriculum, students engage in process writing with several drafts of a single work edited and evaluated until a publishable product is constructed (prewriting, drafting, citing, revising, and publishing). Students write a term paper on a topic of their choice each year, ac-cording to MLA with footnotes and bibliography.  Literature circles allow for your child to ex-press views and examine ethical concerns. Literature study includes novels, biographies, essays, short stories, historical documents, poetry, and drama. Integration of these pieces within the humanities and science studies enriches the student’s understanding of time, place and the dynamics of the human story.

The work covered in the Elementary Life Sciences is once again revisited within the reality of meaningful context, more in-depth study, and problem-solving.  The pedagogy of place drives the lessons and problem solving relative to the areas of environmental science, chemistry, biology, botany, astronomy, weather, geology, genetics, physics, human physiology, and gardening. As part of the construction of the Social Self, students explore and discuss ethical issues relating to each area of study, and inquiry into what makes society function. Cross-curricular study is employed through language arts, Latin, math, and history. In preparation for high school history requirements, students study the formation of the United States fro the establishment of the colonies through the Civil War. Cultural studies are enhanced by field trips and visits with experts. Application of these studies are provided through the Small Business Applications.

Adolescent study of scientific occupations offered in include Soil, Forest and Water Study; Geology, Topography, Biomes; Human Physiology; Genetics; Astronomy and Weather; History of the USA; Classical Period, Roman Period; Botany, Gardening; History of the Earth, Plate Tectonics; and ethical issues associated with all of the above topics.

The completion of the Adolescent program culminates in graduation from our Montessori school, and readiness for high school, college, and their lives as contributing members of society.

“Above all it is the education of adolescents that is important, because adolescence is the time when the child enters on the state of manhood and becomes a member of society.”

– Maria Montessori