Middle School - Grades 7 - 8
The Montessori Secondary program is designed to meet the developing needs of the adolescent by providing a developmentally responsive approach to learning. We have created a Middle School program where the Pillars of the Third Plane of Development - self-expression, trust, cognitive growth, commitment, responsibility and gender identity are safely explored. Our vision is to provide an educational experience for adolescence that is personally enlightening, academically challenging and ultimately empowering.
The MCS Middle School program is a two-year program for seventh and eighth grade students. Each year is divided into six themed cycles. The course of study incorporates the integration of subjects within these themes. The first four weeks of each cycle are spent focused on learning and studying. The fifth week includes the culmination of study with time spent evaluating ones own work, and presenting mastery of the topics through examinations. Students are introduced to formal exams as a practical life exercise, and are exposed to a variety of exam styles, including essay, fill in the blank and multiple choice. Students learn to evaluate their own performance and identify curriculum areas where further study or practice is needed. They also learn how to mentally and physically prepare for a test and what test-taking strategies suit them the most.
The sixth week is called the Immersion Week. During this week, the class has time to immerse themselves in projects and studies related to the cycle's theme. Past immersions have included: Shakespearience & Cedar Breaks, Utah State Government, Job Shadowing, Yellowstone Science, Ropes Course Team Building, Horse Farm Service Learning and Boston History.
Students use planners to create, organize and prioritize their work time, allowing for the individual needs of each student. Students work independently through the math, language and practical life curriculum while the cultural areas (social studies, arts, sciences, etc.) are explored with peers. They plan and initiate parent-student-teacher conferences two times a year as well as participate in two written evaluations each year.
The curriculum builds upon the student's Upper Elementary classroom experience and continues to emphasize independence and personal responsibility. The curriculum is individualized. The needs, abilities, interests and skills of each student are taken into consideration when lessons are planned and knowledge is assessed. Each student receives extra help or direction in areas where he/she needs it and moves rapidly through other areas where he/she excels.
Opportunities for self-expression through the visual arts are integrated throughout the six thematic cycles, and students have the opportunity to explore the areas of Music, Dance, Theater, Physical Education and specialized skills through workshops each cycle. Past workshops have included: guitar, drama, terrarium design and maintenance, knitting, fly-fishing, photography, architecture, video-making and editing, sewing, bicycle mechanics, carpentry, and glass jewelry design.
Students contribute to a functioning micro-economy through student-run businesses. Students are responsible for all aspects of the business, including business plan development, bookkeeping, marketing, purchasing, customer service, management and continuous improvement.
Students participate in Socratic Dialogue sessions each week. The purpose of Socratic Dialog is to develop a culture of inquiry among the students where they habitually think, ask questions, wonder, listen, consider other points of view, and learn to "think outside the box".