Who Knew That 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!
The Secondary program is available at our Hazelmere School location.
Our world does not need more test-takers, memorizers or followers. Now, more than ever, we need critical thinkers, entrepreneurs and do-ers. Montessori education prepares children to take on the future with confidence and zeal, propelled by the gift of self-knowledge and a lifelong passion for learning.
Adolescents are such wonderful people, and in our standardized system, we fall so far short of meeting their needs – need for independence, for strenuous physical activity, large opportunities for social interaction and growth, channels to express their deep introspective and spiritual strengths and opportunities to serve others. Montessori named these children “Erdkinder”, Earth Children, and proposed the farm as an ideal community in which to meet their needs. The purpose is not to train farmers, but to allow students to grow physically, ethically, spiritually, academically and socially through their individual connections with the land. Whether it’s nurturing a growing vegetable, calculating a cow’s milk production, designing a barn, discussing the ethics of pesticides or rezoning of ALR land, children find their own unique ways to contribute to the good of the whole, and to become effective stewards of the earth.
I cannot believe the incredible education my son received in his 7 years at Roots and Wings!
What are the needs of 13 – 15 year olds?
- Adolescents have a new, powerful imagination, now directed out to the whole universe, their view of all they can’t see. They are developmentally poised to take on the large issues of humanity, cosmic issues and to see the universe as a whole, looking, sometimes desperately, for their place in it. We must now offer the whole universe, rather than isolated parts.
- Valorization of the personality is vital – self-worth based on contribution. They crave important work. Passive learning is not engaging. They need to see the purpose for their work, the link between routine drill and practice and applied work. Busy doesn’t mean engaged; students’ trust is violated with non-productive work. Hard work doesn’t turn them away, but busy work destroys them.
- Although they are no longer thirsty for facts per se, they have an ability to reason very logically, looking for relationships between things in the universe. Their thirst for this kind of knowledge is insatiable, and seeds sown at the elementary level now begin to bud. Their awakening interests must be nourished carefully, for they are at risk in an uncaring environment. All ideas correlate to a central idea – the cosmic plan, learned at the elementary level, serving the great purpose of life.
- Adolescents are naturally skeptical. This is healthy, in that they are questioning critically, but they need guidance to avoid depression.
- They need freedom to talk, to talk about what they want to talk about without imposition from adults. They have great conversations about ongoing, unresolved issues of human existence, Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here? They are a bit afraid of not finding answers, afraid people will disagree with them, afraid of never finding the truth.
- Each must find out what they are good for, by finding out what they are good at. It doesn’t matter if they can’t see the goal yet; they need confidence that their aspirations are within their reach. The knowledge of their own capacity fills them with noble confidence, almost religious dignity.
- Adolescents are dreamers. We need to help them keep their interests and imaginations active.
- They are hungry for deep thinking. They need to struggle with past philosophers, art, history. They need to tinker with real world problems.
- Control has to be internal; they must be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and responsible for their own growth and progress. They need strong guidance for moral courage; they need to balance their contemplation with action; they need intellectual competence, so they can use their gifts as service to humanity. They need a world view that doesn’t unnerve them, so they can respond with compassion to where people are. They need to be able to adapt to the rapid changes in society, without losing their sense of what is truly important, ethical and good.
- Because of their compulsion to share their thoughts and feelings, this is a sensitive period for poetry reading and writing. They need to feel safe in sharing their creations, which are very personal and emotional, with emphasis on oral rather than written work.
- Adolescents need a place to hang out without adult interference. We aim to follow the model at Hershey Farm School, in Cleveland, Ohio (www.montessorifarm.org), who state: “we will endeavour to implement Maria Montessori’s vision of a farm-based community as an optimal place for 12- to 15-year-olds to unlock their potential as self-motivated, independent, and fulfilled younglearners. The Farm community will help adolescents develop knowledge and skills through a plan of intellectual studies and manual work, while nurturing their spirit and values from within, so that they may engage fully in building a connection to society and the world.”
“The young must be left with sufficient liberty to act according to individual initiative. Let us, then, prepare the means while leaving them the liberty to create.”
Radicalus incorporates a work and study process that emerges from direct contact with the land. The farm becomes the “prepared environment” for the adolescent. Our adolescent program began in 2003 and operated very successfully until June 2007. At that time we were required to move their housing for land development, so the program was on hold for a year. It has now recommenced under the capable direction of Mary Ellen Sheehan, Blake Stephenson and Kristin Cassie.
Every student is an “A” student!
Academic achievement is a prime goal at Roots and Wings. We guide the students to work individually from their present levels, whatever they are, and to challenge and stretch themselves to progress to higher levels. As much as possible, learning taps into the student’s passion and interests. While undue, teacher-imposed pressure is not constructive, the students are enabled to hold themselves to their own highest standards of excellence, and to experience pride in their achievements. Learning is cooperative, not competitive, and much of the learning is peer-directed. The rule is mastery before moving forward, rather than letter grading or comparison; in other words, an “A” standard must be achieved for every lesson before the next step can be taken. This does not apply to research reports or other one-time projects, which are graded and evaluated in order to help the student understand how to improve on his or her next project. Care is taken to evaluate with the student’s current level in mind. If parents wish, students evaluated by the Ministry each year, at the “Grade 7” and “Grade 10” levels, and results are reported to parents. Graduates of our elementary school and of up to the “Grade 9” level have shown excellent achievement after moving to other schools, both independent and public. We plan to compile profiles of our graduates in the near future.
Everyone here is smart – and they know it!
Continuing our method of independent learning, students will work from progress charts which will display their basic curriculum. In keeping with Ministry of Education requirements, all learning outcomes for BC schools will be included on these progress charts. However they will also include a great deal more, as we attempt to offer the students all they need to prepare them for their future. It is up to the students and their parents to decide how closely they wish to adhere to the provincial curriculum.There is a balance between individual and small or whole group learning. Students will make weekly and monthly contracts to complete their chosen work, and mastery will be recorded on the progress charts. This enables the students, their parents and the faculty to gauge a student’s progress at a glance, and to monitor necessary refocusing of goals. To the best of our ability, specialists will be available amongst our faculty, or found in the community, to work with students on their chosen learning goals.
They will have one basic Directress, who will be intimately connected with each student, and who will serve as a guide, a mentor and a confidante. Other faculty are detailed in the “Faculty” section below. Our program evolves from what is learned during the training in the Montessori Orientation to Adolescence Training, in Cleveland, Ohio, along with our own unique experience, influenced by the specific nature of the environment and of the students.
Finally my child is happy at school!
The substance of the students’ learning is not so much a curriculum as a response to a developmental need. The three year cycle includes all elements of the provincial curriculum, plus a great deal more. Students are very well prepared for post-secondary education.
The following is planned for inclusion in our syllabus:
- Sentence analysis/editing
- Composition: research, art of the essay, reflection, analysis, argument, purposeful letter-writing
- Typing Students are expected to practice touch-typing daily, until they reach a speed of at least 40 w.p.m., using correct fingering
- Poetry and fiction – self-expression
- The Art of the Seminar – respectful discussion and debate
- Foreign Languages: French and Latin are standard. Our uniquely designed Montessori French program can be adapted for any language, so that other languages will be made available on request of the students.
- Penmanship: beyond cursive to calligraphy and decorative lettering
- Junior Great Books Authors plus
- Romantic Poets
- Plato, Crito, Confucius, Siddhartha, Machievelli, Orwell
- Other authors, as desired and recommended during the year
- students are expected to choose works of their own preference for individual reading throughout the year
Daily maintenance math – all basics, as outlined by the Ministry
- Math applied to project work: measurement, accounting, data collection, geometry
History of the land in relation to civilization: Middle Ages, Renaissance, Industrial,Global Unity
Human/Natural world comparison, birth of agriculture, rise of city and cultures, ancient civilizations, needs of communities, government and culture; regional, federal, world; peace and international studies
- Development of humans
- Energy Use
- Physics and Architecture
- Early Inventions, Archaeology
- Scientific revolution
- Physics of Motion (Galileo, Newton)
- Scientific Method
- Einstein, Darwin
- Modern Physics
Students will gain an understanding of their responsibility as earth stewards through understanding ecosystems, through analysis and evaluation of destructive ecological habits and through constructive work towards solutions.
All students will be expected to experience basics in each of the following. They may then choose their own area for deeper exploration and creativity.
- Drama, Dance
- Music, Choir, Band
- Technical Art
My children do not want to come home at the end of the day!
Individual sports: already available are golf, ice skating and swimming. Other individual sports may be experienced, as available and desired: e.g. bowling, skiing, skate-boarding, etc.
Team sports: soccer, basketball, volleyball, track and field – possibly in conjunction with other local schools, as desired and available.
Entrepreneurship – Students will be expected to create their own product, construct a business plan, including market research, production and sales, and evaluation of their businesses.
Apprenticeship: Students may choose a local business in which to apprentice, according to their own interest and timing.
Business and Information Technology: Students will receive individual instruction in computer technology and software by a qualified computer technician.
Health and Safety
- Personal Awareness
- Nutrition and healthy eating
- Prevention of: substance abuse, child abuse, injury.
Students usually spend a week in September in a carefully protected wilderness environment, undergoing experiences and activities that improve self-awareness and social responsibility, understanding their role as valued stewards in the web of life.
Students participate in the Virtues Project: an internationally acclaimed course in ethics and values training. Leadership skills: Students will be required to demonstrate leadership in creating projects, peer teaching and/or working with younger students in the school.
This is like a family, where everyone feels valued and loved.
Practical Life Skills
Again, students will learn the basics in each of the following areas, then pursue a favourite area in more detail, working with an expert. A goal is for the students to learn the skills that will enable them to live sustainably:
Food preparation: cook their own food, rather than relying on unhealthy instant foods with excessive packaging; one focus is on understanding the scientific process of cooking, so that students are able to create their own recipes
Needlework: sew and repair their own clothes, needing fewer new items
Woodworking: create and repair their own furniture
Mechanics: repair motors in appliances and vehicles
My children love the animals.
Students practice daily with a typing tutor to ensure they learn the correct fingering that will allow them to attain maximum typing speed. They work with individual laptops, connecting directly to the internet when necessary for supervised research or connection with others. They are taught to use up-to-date technology, as much as possible, to aid their research and communication, and to express their creativity. They also learn how to discern credible sites for information. Because of the strong evidence that wireless communication is dangerous to health, we are a wireless-free zone, with all computers hard-wired for communication.
This school really prepared me for life.
Occupations are purposeful work projects arising out of the needs of the farm or out of the community’s needs to accomplish a task, requiring knowledge and skill. They typically involve a very high level of engagement, and therefore energy and commitment, on the part of the students. Examples may be acquiring and caring for animals, gardening, bioshelter construction, pond study, physics of machinery, child development, archaeology, photography, bridge construction.These projects provide a key to all other learning, and are the main reason for our acquisition of our ten acre property. It is these projects that will likely be the most exciting part of the program for our students. Visit the Hershey Montessori Farm School’s website for examples of such projects. www.montessorifarm.org
The first reform in education must be to offer a wider environment and to multiply the possibilities of association and activity.”
As our school’s philosophy and goals are unique, it’s important that we determine compatibility with those of registering families. Therefore, parents of children who have not attended our Elementary program will need to have an interview before registering. Please complete an Admissions Form and submit it, with a $50 fee, in preparation for this interview with the Principal. Following this interview, you will be directed through the rest of the registration procedure.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time with any question you may have. We’re always eager to talk to you!
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