Our Adolescent Community (Grade 7 to 9), recognises in these students a new level of independence. An innovative setting and developmentally responsive curriculum provides opportunities for students to use academic disciplines in real world contexts. Meaningful work and real-life problem solving, together with creative expression and entrepreneurship enable these students to discover new capacities and a vision for their own future. This remarkable learning environment allows adolescents to experience real risk, real consequences while working alongside experienced teachers who understand their need to experiment and explore as a young person.
You walk into our adolescent community and you are amazed at the variety of learning spaces being used, students are working inside, outside, individually or in groups. One adolescent is researching the difference between the native and invasive species found down at the creek which runs parallel to the property – while working independently, they develop important organisational skills and focus to achieve their goal . Nearby a group of students are rehearsing a play which will be performed at an upcoming showcase in a couple of weeks – it’s an opportunity to practise collaboration, negotiation and production. In a learning space a teacher is guiding a small group of ten students in a key lesson on sacred geometry – looking at patterns in nature and how they can be applied in a practical way.
This is a normal day in the Montessori International College Adolescent Community.
A few students are observed letting the chickens out for the day while others prepare the learning spaces for the day ahead. The morning opens with all students and teachers gathering as a group to share announcements and to discuss the day ahead. As the group disperses, a few students remain to talk about a submission which is due in a couple of days. A number of students are working independently in a variety of learning spaces, a teacher sits with a small group discussing a business idea and proposal, while some others gather for language arts and mathematics lessons.
They get back together to prepare their own meals at lunch time, and then disperse for lunchtime activities such as exploring the creek, reading outside in nature, or kicking the football around as a group. Students return from these activities and break off into specialised science and humanities sessions. A variety of activities are observed, a couple of students examine online records to document the history of the property, a small group extract oils from on site plants and another group explores the anatomy of chickens and the production of eggs.
The day ends with students gathering once more to acknowledge the work achieved and then they leave to clean the learning spaces in preparation for the next day.
In our classrooms, adolescents take their academic learning and apply it to real life experiences, learning is then something which holds meaning and is driven by a desire to make sense of the world they live in. Our adolescents discuss, scrutinize, question, unearth, discover, reflect, socialise, interact, resolve conflicts, understand and grow.
It’s Schooling Reimagined.