The period of adolescence has been compared by Dr. Maria Montessori to the first plane of development. She identified both as periods of great transformation, physically and mentally.
Task commitment and concentration continue to be of great importance to the Montessori Adolescent. Her psychic development is to articulate a personal vision. The adolescent’s motto is “Help me to think for myself.” This requires time for solitude and personal reflection, as well as a time for dialogue with her teacher(s) and within a circle of peers.
The major characteristics or “ages” of early adolescence are these:
The focus of the adolescent is on camaraderie, fellowship, companionship and teammates. Peer relationships are crucial and the peer group is the adolescent’s first priority. They need to identify.
The adolescent mind turns from elementary thoughts of the universe toward themselves and their group. Adolescents need to know how they feel and what they want. They need to draw conclusions, listen and synthesize. They need adults to listen to their reasoning. They need to be empowered to seek solutions and to discuss their conclusions.
The adolescent’s vital force has a special intensity. It can burn out of control – but if channeled, it can move mountains. The adolescent has an astonishing capacity to work and an unquenched thirst for adventure and self-discovery.
The adolescent feels challenged to understand what is expected of him or her as an adult.
The adolescent confronts and deals with human nature in a very unique way, confronting powerful dilemmas, mysterious forces and contradictions of life.
The major “needs” of the Montessori adolescent are these:
- They need to work.
- They need to be challenged.
- They need to be empowered.
- They need the earth (land).
- They need to build community.
- They need to develop a personal vision.
The curriculum of the Maria Montessori Middle School is the result of a three-year research and development project which involved site visits to three major Montessori middle or high schools in San Antonio, Texas, Chicago, Ill., and Portland, Ore. An exhaustive national and local study of the major content curriculums (in terms of performance standards and life-long learning objectives) was conducted. It is the belief of the Maria Montessori staff that the Middle School curriculum meets or surpasses those of local private and public schools while embracing the Montessori methodology.
The Middle School day begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 3:15 p.m.