The adolescent curriculum is based on a “society” and relates to the needs of the particular community.
Traditional education often teaches subjects in isolation from life outside the classroom. Facts and skills are focused on one particular content area. The Montessori adolescent program, however, offers lessons with practical applications across the subject areas and allows students to make improvements in their own community.
“What will I use this for?” is an often-asked question of the adolescent, as he is determined to use knowledge to DO something in the world. Projects such as monitoring our local waterways, creating a business, or volunteering at soup kitchens are real-world opportunities for lessons in science, language arts, math, history and they offer practical life experience.
Creating a business is a key component in MAP. Students work as a group to find ways of making money, their first direct experiences of the economic connections in society. The success of earning money for a job well-done is a strong source of validation for the adolescent’s skills and contributions. In addition, students will tell you, service is not a requirement, it’s a part of our curriculum. Rather than have an arbitrary requirement for hours of service, students participate in a variety of projects and activities that serve others and make the world more beautiful. Exploring avenues for giving back and creating opportunities for these activities is proven to be a greater indicator of service becoming a way of life rather than an isolated checklist.
How do we accomplish all this? Our weekly schedule is designed to be flexible and fluid. Without bells to tell us our time is up, we can continue discussions that delve deeper into subjects. We can also adjust our time to participate in cultural, occupational and service activities. This versatility allows students an autonomy that helps develop organizational skills, study habits, and promotes healthy self-esteem.