Montessori Happenings

FlagNewspaper

It was hard to get lost along a segment of the Flagstaff urban trail near Coconino High School while it was littered with seventh and eighth graders during a trash cleanup last Friday morning.

The students of the Montessori School of Flagstaff Middle School sported their brightest vests and most comfortable shoes to collect the empty beer bottles and left-behind dog droppings that were scattered along the Sego Lily Trail, which winds up the hill behind the high school to the crest of McMillan Mesa.

“It’s pretty fun, but it’s sad that there’s a lot of trash out here,” said Kevin Willden, a seventh grader at the school.

Every seven weeks, the students rotate for a chance to sit on a planning team – made up of a group of four – to research, make phone calls and strategize a community service project. So far, they have made sandwiches at the Northern Arizona Food Bank and landscaped at the other Montessori campuses.

“We haven’t done too many yet but it’s really fun,” said seventh-grader Alyssa Prager. “It’s a fun way to end the week.”

The Sego Lily Trail was previously known as the Sixth Avenue Trail; the new name reflects the presence of sego lilies, a small, white wildflower native to the West.

The school’s mission is geared toward self-education while the kids journey into adulthood – they accomplish this not only through academics but through things like community service projects.

“The school is largely based around independence and maturity and handling adult situations,” said Trish O’Brien, who has taught at the Montessori School of Flagstaff for the past nine years. “It allows them to really look out to the community and see things beyond just their academics.”

The school year consists of five six-week cycles during which each cycle focuses on a specific subject. The seventh week of each cycle is dedicated to exams.

Classes are held as usual every Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, however, the students participate in a regular class, a going-out to explore the environment or a community service project.

And they get to do each of these twice in a six-week cycle.

“We want them to be a part of the community and to understand the difference they can make,” said Lisa Martinez, who also teaches at the school. “They have done a wonderful job. They’re very enthusiastic and very passionate.”

Within the next couple months, the students have planned a craft day at the Peaks Senior Living Community and will volunteer at the Coconino Humane Association.

Curtis, Chelsea. "Montessori Students Clean up Urban Trail." Arizona Daily Sun. N.p., 27 Oct. 2015. Web. 24 Feb. 2016. <http://azdailysun.com/news/montessori-students-clean-up-urban-trail/article_03c839d2-da93-505d-937b-a1a5f594d774.html>.

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