Cedar Campus (12–14 Years)
Our middle school is a special place. The entire program was fashioned as the first of its kind for young adults at this stage of development.
Until recently, the educational model for children this age was either an accelerated elementary school program or a “junior” high school program. Dr. Elizabeth Coe, past president of the American Montessori Society, using years of research completed by the University of North Carolina, developed a completely new educational model based on the specific needs of this age group. The model is founded on a fundamental principle: The key to development is freedom with responsibility and respect.
Dr. Montessori spoke of a center for study and work where adolescents could safely transform into adults. Our model focuses on helping them find where their talents intersect with the world’s needs. Not only does our program promote academic excellence in all core subjects, but it also gives students practical experience in a variety of community settings.
Six Integrated Components
The Montessori Middle School experience features six integrated components to address all of the needs of the adolescents during their delicate transition to adulthood: academic, entrepreneurial, service to community , apprenticeship, adventure, and the Heroic Journey.
By addressing the social and emotional needs of the adolescent, s/he can better focus on academic endeavors. This deliberate approach to adolescent education provides the experiences needed to expose our young adults to many valuable life lessons where they can connect with peers and bond with supportive adult teachers.
Seventh and eighth grade students are taught together in a 2-year program. Each year is divided into five theme-based cycles, each 6-7 weeks long. All subjects are integrated into the theme of the cycle.
Monday–Thursday: Math, social world, natural world, literature, writing, grammar, vocabulary, etymology, Spanish, physical education and personal world.
Friday: Running the pizza business, community service, field trips and a variety of activities and classes chosen by the students themselves, such as art, music (African drum, “boy band” etc.), dance (hip-hop, line, etc.), drama, computer science, cooking, Tai Chi, yearbook, yoga, scrapbooking, woodworking, digital photography, the sports program, and more. The sports program includes participation in athletic competition with students from other schools. Presently, students may participate in volleyball, basketball, and/or cross-country, and “Girls on Track.”
Last week of each cycle: Students present research they have conducted both in small groups and individually. During this week, students also participate in a “going out” experience, or “immersion,” to explore their expanding environment with hikes, campouts, and other opportunities to appreciate the region’s natural beauty and historical significance.