Montessori Junior High Overview
“… 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. If puberty is on the physical side a transition from an infantile to an adult state, there is also, on the psychological side, a transition from the child who has to live in a family, to the man who has to live in society.”
During the two years of Junior High we continue to follow the Montessori philosophical principle of providing a program that responds developmentally to the adolescent, while also ensuring that students are prepared for High School. This means that the educational focus is still on the development of the whole student-academically, socially, emotionally, and morally. To achieve this, our program continues to be cross-curricular and interdisciplinary as it always has been throughout the student’s Montessori education.
The program considers provincial curriculum and the Casa and elementary Montessori curriculum. It also reflects the developmental principles of the adolescent and the psychological analysis of how we as humans learn. These criteria have implored our program to require students to be active, engaged thinkers who assume responsibility for their own learning and that of the group. Our program is structured so that anonymity is impossible and high expectation of study and work is required for all students. “The program responds to two of the adolescent’s most important needs: to be protected during this delicate physical transition period, and to be placed in a position to understand the role he/she will play in society…”
Mathematics and Geometry
Through the use of the Saxon math series, each student will be placed at their own academic level into a text that will challenge them and also help to maintain previously learned math skills. This program takes the students well into the study of algebra and also has a large amount of problem solving which supports the other areas of practical implementation of mathematics. The student will generally be required to complete three problem sets a week in this text to progress at an appropriate pace. In conjunction with the Saxon series, regular use of other math resources will be used, such as the CPM series. It is important for our students to work on a variety of types of questions, tests and real world math applications.
The science curriculum is based on the principles of Scientific Method and discovery. It will examine the interdependence of humans and nature both living and non-living. This will involve studies in ecology, geology, botany, biology, physics, and chemistry over the course of a student’s two years in the program. The JASON project will be used every other year as an outstanding international example of an interdisciplinary scientific study.
English (Writer’s Workshop)
The studies in English in the areas of writing and reading will be centred on the cultural themes. This will also be supported by a weekly seminar study in small groups where students will discuss readings and also weekly writing through all aspects of the curriculum. The students will also be required to reflect on themes, events or readings in their personal journals which allows for creative expression and thought. The study of grammar and spelling will permeate all aspects of writing in the Junior High program.
Students will continue their French studies in the areas of conversation, reading, writing, and grammar. As much as possible, French is integrated with other cultural studies and is another venue for study of our own Canadian culture and history. French will occur within the Junior High schedule of work time and unlike the elementary school, students will not go out for it.
This area of the program encompasses all areas that help define our humanness: history, literature, politics and political geography, current events, and the arts. One year the focus will be around the transformation of Humans through history both internationally and in our own country and city. In the other year the focus will be around the growth of Canada as a country from indigenous peoples through to Confederation.
Although music certainly will have a small role in our humanities studies, the study of a band instrument is taught separately through two music sessions a week for each student.
Visual art is considered in our humanities studies and other areas of creative expression in the student’s work, but to maintain our high standard of art instruction, students in the Junior High will continue to participate in the Montessori art program. As well, a visiting artist who is a professional in his/her field will work for a session with the Junior High students. This will allow the students to be exposed to alternative styles of art and to learn more about the life of people whom are professional artists. This program also responds to the mentoring that at this age is inspirational for young people.
Due to the extreme privilege that students have in participating in this program, we have a policy that any student that is deemed disruptive by either the visiting artist or the classroom teachers will be excused for the remainder of the session with the specific art specialist.
Physical Education, Health and Wellness
This program looks at the health of the whole adolescent. It includes various physical activities, which are a combination of individual and hopefully lifelong sports, group sports, and the hard work of regular curricular outdoor activities. Activities are varied from curling, cross-country, traditional team sports, hiking, canoeing, archery, fitness training, yoga, skiing, track and field, and swimming. The physical side of the program is complimented by presentations and discussions on human sexuality, nutrition, substance abuse, protection of self and others, and management of stress.
The other component of this program is the Junior High commitment to preparation of a lunch program. Students will be involved in preparing lunch three days a week, which not only provides nutritional meals for this period of rapid growth, but also provides practical life skills in food preparation, meal planning, clean-up, and collaborative work.