Junior High Program (Ages 12-15)
THE AGE OF DRAMATIC CHANGE
The Junior High years are an exciting time of dramatic cognitive, emotional, social and physical change as young adolescents begin the transition to adulthood. As they seek to find their “fit” in the world, they naturally focus on their knowledge of self. Peer relationships become more important. Students of this age are able to reflect and plan ahead, indicating their readiness to take on more elaborate work. Woodinville Montessori’s curriculum takes into account these unique developmental needs while continuing its mission to prepare young people for lives that are centered, informed, enriched and inspired.
The mission of our program is to empower our early adolescents to create a vision for their personal future. We provide opportunities for growth in self-confidence, self-knowledge, and academic excellence through membership in a supportive community.
Our curriculum at this level integrates the Montessori philosophy, the state EALRs (Essential Academic Learning Requirements), the newest research on the developmental needs and current learning theory of early adolescence, and the predictions of the skills needed for a productive life in the twenty-first century.
The academic year is divided into four nine-week cycles. Each cycle consists of seven weeks of focused study, one week of presentations and assessment, and one week of immersion, typically an off-campus experience.
FOCUSED ACADEMIC STUDY
During the academic portion of each cycle, students complete core studies in math, language, writing, science, humanities, Spanish, physical education, and performing and visual arts. These subjects are presented in an integrated fashion from a historical perspective whenever possible. Students are also free to pursue areas of special interest in large blocks of uninterrupted time to a depth that satisfies their curiosity.
The 7th and 8th grade curriculum and instruction is designed as a two-year program in which students earn credits applicable in public or private school. The 9th grade year is considered high school in this state and thus has a distinct curriculum. Programs at both levels meet or exceed state standards.
The community is very important to the adolescent, and every day provides opportunities for social development and learning. The classroom community is based on the concepts of integrity, respect and responsibility.
School mornings start with a community meeting. All students rotate through the responsibility of leading the meeting using an agenda of sharing, acknowledging, problem solving, and general announcements. These meetings lead to an atmosphere of inclusion by fostering group interaction, dialog and trust.
Community-building and leadership are further developed through small-group work, shared decision making and problem solving throughout the day.
The WMS Junior High curriculum incorporates opportunities for practical and hands-on experience. Students apply their math, negotiation and problem solving skills in running their own business, raising money for their end of the year trip or other special projects of their choosing. Students take on the responsibilities necessary for successful, and profitable, business ventures.
Immersion weeks may be dedicated to land and service projects, drama, artistic endeavors, internships, and math or science projects. All are designed to bring the students’ work and interests to life.
Land and service experiences allow classroom work to extend to the greater community. Students have the opportunity to take on stewardship projects which ultimately enhance global awareness while supporting environmental and community service organizations. These projects nurture the young person’s connection to nature and establish a sense that he or she is capable of contributing to the greater good.
RETREATS AND TRIPS
Each school year begins with a retreat to build classroom community and a cooperative spirit. Self-awareness, leadership skills and environmental studies are incorporated into retreat activities. Field trips are also scheduled throughout the year to support classroom learning. The school year culminates with an out of state class trip which allows students to develop greater independence and personal responsibility.
“Our aim… is not merely to make the children understand, and still less to force them to memorize, but to so touch their imagination as to enthuse them to their innermost core.”
– Maria Montessori