The "Six Pillars" of the Middle School Program Explained
The Middle School program offers a highly advanced preparatory experience for both High School and for the child’s emergence into adulthood. As part of the third developmental plane, the youth of our Middle school seek to realize their place in a school society and their community at large. Driven by challenge, the Middle School student is at an age of empowerment- he or she is looking for a platform to invest acquired knowledge and individual talents in order to improve his own condition and strengthen his community. To meet his ambition, the Middle School student seeks out opportunities to advance his intellectual capacity and apply it to life.
The Montessori Secondary program is built on the “Six Pillars” [Paul Epstein] which are designed to serve the needs of the child in their third developmental plane. These are: self expression, trust, cognitive growth, commitment, responsibility and gender identity. These pillars are integrated through an intense curriculum presented to the Middle School student through themed study cycles. This six-week cycle begins with a study period that lasts about four weeks, allowing the MS student to identify effective personal study habits and analytical processing skills. The fifth week is meant to give the student an opportunity to self-evaluate, which provides an introduction to the practical life exercise of test-taking. This week is meant for the MS student to examine personal performance, observe skill mastery and identify curriculum areas where further study or practice is needed. The sixth week, or “Immersion Week,” involves the student’s ability to spread their intellectual wings. It could be planning a trip to a National Park, attending a career-building conference, or visiting a historic site- it is the MS student’s opportunity to integrate subject material from weeks past and process it through experience.
This week, the Middle School headed to Cedar City for a visit to the renowned “Shakespearean Festival.” During their Immersion Week, they have been attending plays, holding class workshops, and practicing performance techniques with a theater expert, Jake Johnson. In addition, they were also able to visit a national monument, Cedar Breaks for a few pictures. For the trip, they planned their event schedule, budgeted for every meal, and took turns cooking for each other. Here we have a few pictures of the Middle School students during their time in Cedar City:
The program at a glance features a staggering course of study in all areas, but especially in that of Literature, Science, Practical Life and Economics. In Literature, the Middle School student has the opportunity to study traditional language and build vocabulary; she will practice grammar and learn the organization of professional writing as well as the authenticity and resourcefulness of creative writing. In Science, the MS student learns to identify the properties of cells, the structure of matter, the Earth’s Lithosphere and plant classification. These principles become solidified as students engage side-by-side in natural hikes, outdoor surveillance and community gardening. Practical Life and Economics seem to go hand in hand for the Middle School student, as with each new learning cycle, the class takes on a new “business venture” in order to raise money for a year-end Historic trip to Boston. These ventures include the refinement of skills such as gardening or cooking which are applied to the turning of a profit. Unique to Middle School, students participate in a weekly “Montessori Market,” for which they prepare and sell home-made items and natural goods. For these ventures, the MS student keeps accounting records, develops marketing tactics and principles of design, and practices negotiation strategy.
Not only are students of the Middle School immersed in the academic, but they grow on a different level through their study of guitar and music, outdoor appreciation and yoga. As the MS student is fast becoming an increasingly social being, much time is spent together through community learning and building. This group learning allows the practice of effective communication, positive relationships and skill building. What evolves is a respectful and diplomatic environment, with ambitious, forward-thinking leaders who seek to improve the world in their own way.