The programme for adolescents promotes hands-on, self-paced, collaborative learning with authentic problem solving that responds to the needs of their physical environment or of their community.
The main goal of the programme is to prepare young adolescents for any upcoming high school experience. It comes down to incorporating creativity and choice, collaboration and the social nature of adolescents, and strengthening growing independence through organization, time-management and skill-building.
Students work to acquire expertise in science, technology, communication and human history so they may move the story of human beings toward a new and promising chapter. Learning about other cultures expands their world perspective and helps them explore different ways to approach the challenging issues of this time. During these critical years they come to understand the planet we all live on, and the people who are our global family.
Maria Montessori felt that adolescents had a need for head-and-hands work— purposeful and meaningful work that led them towards economic independence. The work has to engage the hands, they need to be active, moving, be physically involved. At the same time, they need to be engaging their intellect in the same task, to plan what their activity is, to analyse the best way to carry it out, to test it, use trial and error, reflect upon it and make decisions to move forward to the next task.
While traditional education often teaches facts isolated from life outside the classroom, the Montessori adolescent program offers lessons with practical applications that allow students to make improvements in their communities. “What will I use this for?” is an often-asked question by adolescents, as they are determined to use the knowledge to “DO” something in the world. Projects such as monitoring the neighbourhood watershed, building and maintaining a large garden or baking bread, are real-world opportunities for many lessons in science, language, arts, and practical life skills. 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.