Who Knew School Could Be Like This?!
Discover What Puts Roots and Wings at the Leading Edge of Education…
The provincial government is slowly moving towards inquiry-based, inter-disciplinary learning in multi-age classrooms.
We already have 30 years of experience!
Seniors (Grades 4-6) Available At Our Forest School Location in Langley.
After Intermediates, Another Step Forward
Did you know the traditional education system was designed during the Industrial Revolution, when the masses moved into urban areas to work in factories? They created an effective method of training the next generation of factory workers. Today, successful people work on projects, rather than in factory lines. They are rewarded for creativity, rather than following orders. Montessori offers a research-based method that has been proven to develop some of the brightest minds of our times.
By the end of their third year in the intermediate class, again having had the experience of being the class leaders, the students are ready for more detailed learning, harder work and greater extension beyond the school boundaries. They now move to the Senior Class, where children approximately 9- to 12-years old delve deeper into the various areas of learning and grow in their ability to become proud and worthwhile citizens. Consideration of world problems helps these students to realize that justice is not always black and white and interesting debates take place. In September the students spend a few days camping together, where they increase social and environmental skills and bond even more closely.
Students have a strong commitment to the group and class meetings now help them operate a hot-lunch business, where they learn the myriad skills necessary to run a business. They have their own business manager, bank account and Treasurer, and demand accountability. This provides many opportunities for individual students to shine and gain in confidence. Their profit is used to finance a major field trip each year.
Senior Class Annual Trip
In From Childhood to Adolescence, Montessori speaks of the need for the 7 – 12 year olds to expand their learning environment beyond the classroom. At the 6 – 9 year level, their learning involves the community wherever possible. At the Senior Class level, they are ready to expand beyond the community to the world. No theoretical study is as effective as first-hand experience, and a trip to a different location has untold benefits. They include:
- expanding the students’ horizons to understand similarities and differences with other cultures
- breaking down, in the thought of those involved, barriers that tend to divide humanity, recognizing common bonds
- forming relationships with students and families in other areas which may continue beyond the exchange program itself
- giving the students a sense of dominion that leads to their confidence in acting as forces for good in the world
- helping the students to grow emotionally in their ability to function away from their parents, to become more independent and more responsible
- giving the students the opportunity to work together in close communion with their peers
- giving staff an opportunity to better understand their students
- providing practical experience which leads to academic growth in a number of different areas of study, including history, geography, mathematics, language, botany, zoology, art, physics and chemistry
- providing a focus for cultural study, leading to performance in the arts (music, drama)
This major annual trip is usually from seven to ten days long and is funded by the students’ own fundraising, by parent fundraising, and by parent contribution. Preparation for this involvement includes research of a new country, deep consideration of appropriate current events, discussion and debate, public speaking, oral reading, grace and courtesy, organization and planning and a general increased understanding of our world.
Since 1995, the students have traveled alternatively to:
- U.S. Virgin Islands, where they stayed with their pen-pals from a Montessori school in St. Thomas.
- Haida Gwaii (formerly Queen Charlotte Islands) where they connected with an alternative school and had some wonderful experiences learning of the unique wildlife, Haida culture and different lifestyles of the Haida Gwai people.
- Every third year the class visits Ottawa and Quebec, using their French first-hand and gaining an in-depth understanding of Canada’s federal government to add to knowledge of provincial politics gained visiting Victoria, and to knowledge of local government gained in involvement with the Surrey City Council elections.
- Drumheller, Alberta to view dinosaurs and participate in archaeological digs
- Barkerville, following the Gold Rush trail through BC.
- Alaska, experiencing glaciers and tundra ecosystems, and learning about global warming
- Washington D.C. and to New York for participation in the MMUN (Montessori Model United Nations)
Such trips usually follow the performance of a related musical, written by their talented teachers. Apart from the valuable learning experiences of the trips, parents often comment on the maturity, increased independence and greater responsibility of their children when they return.
Academically, the Seniors work to polish any weak skills. Math still involves use of some materials, but the children work to progressively more abstract levels as they discover formulas that govern mathematical processes. They usually learn quickly and at very advanced levels, due to their strong sensorial base in the early years. Students work almost daily with the computer, perfecting their keyboarding skills, doing research and learning the intricacies of new systems and programs. They are taught the important discernment skills necessary to maneuvering the internet safely and usefully.
Many students in this class love to write novellas and have produced a number of hard-cover books to add to our library. They work regularly with research skills and produce reports on topics of interest to them, or as part of a class group project. Most students are avid readers and are learning to discern quality novels from others in daily discussions of various aspects of their books and in work with Junior Great Books. They also love to write and read their class newspaper. Science involves further refinement in classification of plants and animals, deeper understanding of chemistry, physics and geology, and gardening and indoor plant skills. They also investigate further man’s contributions to our lives in the history of civilization and the contributions of various cultures to past and present. These students are ready, with the help of our wonderfully competent music teacher, to compose and perform their own music. Having had years of experience on stage, they perform with confidence and enthusiasm. Generally, students who progress through our school from the beginning are very independent, confident, able to plan their days constructively, pursue their own research projects and progress well on their own or with their peers.
Students who enter the program at the Intermediate or Senior level have not always had the opportunity to develop the self-direction needed to handle the freedom normally conferred at this level. Therefore, it may be necessary to provide clearer guidelines as to their choice of work and daily requirements, until the necessary independence skills are gained. Also, without the strong basis in sensorial learning at the younger levels, it may take longer for them to grasp new concepts. Each case is individual, and each student is carefully assessed as to the best method of learning at his or her current level. Always the aim is to have students become gradually more independent and confident in directing their own learning. The number of “new” students is normally restricted to 10% of a class.
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