What do the adolescents do each day in the Adolescent community? What is the curriculum?

Adolescents gather to learn and discover in an environment which offers them intellectual, social, physical and emotional experiences essential for life. Students experiment with and refine learning techniques, take theoretical knowledge and apply it to practical situations, and interact with others in a unique social setting.

Montessori International College delivers the National Curriculum, but in a totally Montessori way – with purpose and meaning. The adolescent program implements the Montessori National Curriculum which was recognised by Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority in 2011.

What is the Land Lab? What’s the importance of real work for adolescents?

The Land Lab (Land Laboratory) refers to the natural environment which offers an unlimited source of scientific, historical and practical experiences. Dr Maria Montessori said adolescents must be able to experience and understand the role of the individual in society. Our diverse campus environment which consists of natural remnant rainforests, untouched native vegetation and agricultural areas along with historically significant indigenous and colonial landmarks offers students an opportunity to explore, examine, work and study in a microcosm of society.

The Land Laboratory is an integral part of student life and their studies. Students connect with and learn from the environment around them and each individual has a role to play whether it is to inform the group of land management techniques, to build scientific knowledge, to regenerate areas, to produce food for the community or for economic enterprises. The Land Lab allows our adolescents to meet fundamental human needs in very concrete ways: providing one’s food, maintaining the buildings, participating in an economy, interacting with the natural world, and adapting to and building upon the natural world with technology.

Eventually students will also be given the opportunity to board on the land to take the experience to a whole new level.

What happens if an adolescent doesn’t want to work? How important is it for an Adolescent student to be able to be self-directed in their own learning?

The adolescent environment draws students to work as there is always something engaging to do. One of the benefits of a Montessori education is that by the time the student gets to the Adolescent Program they have developed the ability to work independently, and are self-motivated. If a student is struggling to engage, then a conversation with one of the teachers usually reveals an underlying reason which is impacting on an individuals ability to work.

Montessori adolescents learn because they are interested in the world around them. They are not driven by letter grades or gold stars – instead they use self reflection, receive meaningful feedback through conversations with teachers and then refine their skills for their own personal progress.

Each individual in the adolescent community is an integral part of a whole and the mixed-age class allows them to experiment and explore a variety of roles during their time in the program. The daily schedule offers students subject specific learning alongside independent/self directed learning. Students who are self-motivated, self-aware and organised will find there is time to follow personal threads of interest without interruption.

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