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The Montessori Children's House: An Introduction
NAMTA's purpose is to maintain Montessori traditions, and at the same time, to be on the cutting edge of innovative education. Accordingly, we provide the medium for study, interpretation, and improvement of Montessori education.
The AMI Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies finds its roots in Montessori history, theory, and practice. The first week examines Montessori’s developmental stages including the intrinsic psychological characteristics of early childhood through adulthood. In order to appreciate the adolescent third plane and its unique contributions to the human personality, it is essential to understand how development manifests itself in the earlier stages. Montessori called the period from birth to age 6 the first plane of education (early childhood). The second plane from ages 6-12 includes the elementary (childhood), and the third plane includes the adolescent, ages 12-18. The participants will experience the environments and the materials for the earlier planes of development, and they will study the needs and characteristics of each of these planes, including the role of the Montessori-prepared adult. (Friday July 4 will be honored as a holiday.)
Through practical work and studies, the participants will experience how adolescents use the farm as their prepared environment and how the farm—and the place where it is located—gives direction to both academic and manual work through the occupations and the humanities. The three-period lesson is explored as both a learning cycle and a design structure for scientific and historic studies. The farm will be experienced as a microcosm of society—a social, economic, and nature-bound system that elicits physical, intellectual, spiritual, creative, and social engagement and responsibility.
Through examples participants will see how the adolescent can be supported in achieving independence balanced with a sense of belonging and community. Seminars on the Erdkinder appendices will be integrated into the experience of the week, providing not only practice in seminar technique, but also deeper reflection on applying Montessori theory to the work in the farm environment.
The third week is a further refinement of Montessori adolescent theory put into practice. Montessori’s writings will be explored more deeply in order to provide a framework for planning adolescent study and work in one’s own environment. Montessori’s Plan of Study and Work will be more fully interpreted along with an examination of Montessori’s understanding of social and moral development. Participants will have a variety of opportunities to further their understanding of Montessori’s Plan of Study and Work by 1) visiting other local adolescent community settings, 2) participating in additional seminars to interpet Montessori theory, or 3) attending more detailed workshops on designing and implementing occupations and humanities projects. Case studies of adolescent communities from around the United States will be offered as lenses through which to consider the implementation of Montessori principles in a variety of places and circumstances.
Participants will generate ideas for their respective local connections and resources, create a context for meaningful project work, and explore possibilities for community involvement and genuine experiences of social organization based on their own site and in their own communities.
The Montessori approach to the disciplines will be considered in the context of Montessori’s Plan of Study and Work. The integration of practical work, key experiences, and intellectual pursuit will be explored. With reference to core principles necessary for staying true to the Montessori vision for the adolescent, experienced Montessori practitioners will offer their knowledge on how and when to frame the work with adolescents.
Participants will choose from the following specialty areas that meet 3 hours daily for implementation framework discussions and for design time.
1. History (Humanities) and Science (Occupations): This session includes project planning, student engagement, key lessons, and research possibilities. Experienced project designers will show how student inquiry methods can involve timelines, maps, charts, experiments, and debates, as well as a three-period approach to key lessons. Workshops on the integration of language arts into all areas of study will be offered as part of the humanities and occupation planning process.
2. Mathematics, Math Connections to Science, and Technology: Specialists will offer an overview of a unified, 12-18 program in mathematics integrating algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, the history of mathematics, discovery-based and project-based lessons. The use of technology connecting math and science will be demonstrated. Participants will design projects and key lessons in mathematics.
3. Advanced Work with the Older Adolescent: Specialists will present philosophy and frameworks of separate subject-area studies and integrated studies appropriate to the increasing specialization of the older adolescent, ages 15-18.
4. Foreign Language: A specialist will present foreign language approaches based on Montessori principles and current research. Theme and skill-based units will be generated integrating language studies with community activities and other subject area disciplines.
Individual Design Work: The fourth and fifth weeks provide opportunities for planning one’s own work, which includes writing a vision statement and a prospectus, as well as preparing a plan of study and work to implement this vision over the course of at least one year. Experienced specialists will continue to share their knowledge and experience through lectures as well as through individual coaching.
Conclusion: The orientation course will conclude with participants submitting their collected work of notes, essays, and lexicons, as well as their plan of study and work and prospectus to be reviewed by the course advisors. Course staff members and advisors will conduct exit interviews with each participant to provide an opportunity for reflection, discussion, and consolidation of understanding of the work accomplished in the course. A graduation brunch and ceremony will celebrate the collective work of the group.
Past orientation certificate holders may attend Weeks Four and Five. Tuition for Weeks Four and Five is $350 plus room and board costs at Hiram College. Pre-registration is required. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for registration information.