The middle school years are characterized by significant growth and change cognitively, socially, emotionally, and physiologically. As students move into and through this period of growth, it’s imperative they receive authentic support for their burgeoning philosophical questioning, curiosity in the world around them, and deep desire for belonging within their peer group. Greensboro Montessori School honors these needs through the concept of valorization, which is a pillar of the Middle School Experience.
Valorization is the process of understanding you are a strong and worthy person, through work and exchange in society (not through work as a means to an end); the process of self-actualization and fulfillment. Valorization is not about surviving hours of arbitrary homework or memorizing facts for the next test. It’s about completing meaningful work, unleashing academic excellence, and solving real-world problems. It’s about knowing you are not only valuable, but also valued.
The Montessori Middle School Experience begins with sixth grade as the leadership year in our Upper Elementary division, which is a multi-age group with fourth and fifth grade students. Seventh and eighth grades are the first and second years of Junior High. Coursework includes core subjects, plus a variety of weekly electives:
- English Language Arts
- Literature Study
- Social Studies
- Weekly Electives: Computer Science, Environmental Education, Health and Physical Education, Music, and Visual Art
In response to current research on adolescent development, the Middle School Experience also includes programming that develops real-world skills.
- Through Project Based Learning, students apply agency and independence while working within a team to produce a worthy and valuable public product. Students engage in projects through multidisciplinary study and real-world application of the skills and knowledge they’re developing in a four-part progression: research, experience, reflection, and the creation of a public product.
- Through our Micro-economy, students participate in a weekly curriculum during which they engage in real-world professions (with real-world financial accounting) to prepare for adult life. Students must develop resumes, apply for a job within the Micro-economy, and keep their job for the duration of the school year.
- During Holiday Marketplace, students tackle practical economics. Either as individuals or in small groups, they write a business plan, develop a product line, design marketing materials, and open a pop-up storefront in our Gym for families, students, and friends of the School.
- Through our Environmental Education program, students regularly study at our 37-acre satellite campus in Oak Ridge, N.C., a place we affectionately call The Land. This wooded retreat includes mature hardwoods, a covered bridge spanning a freshwater stream, peaceful trails, privacy and seclusion, a barn, a 14-bedroom retreat center, and diverse flora and fauna. It is where our students go to apply their academic learning, develop life skills (like cooking meals for each other), build community, and reflect on their personal and academic growth.
- Through our Wellness Curriculum, students learn about five domains of adolescent well-being: biological wellness, media wellness, physical wellness, psychological wellness, and social wellness. Developmentally appropriate material is reviewed each week with students divided in groups by their grade.
Time away from campus provides students with opportunities to expand learning and experience the world. Field trips, or “field studies” as we call them, also provide an incredible opportunity for students to build a sense of belonging and a positive peer group, things that are incredibly important to adolescent development. While we are not currently completing field studies due to COVID-19, we look forward to returning to these annual trips when it’s safe to do so.
- In sixth grade, students take the train to Washington, D.C. for a four-night field study, which they plan and execute with the support of faculty, staff, and parent chaperones.
- In seventh grade, students enjoy a fall and spring field study. In the fall, seventh graders embark on an Outdoor Leadership Expedition with YMCA Camp Cherokee. This four-night excursion includes a backpacking trip through Kings Mountain State and National Parks in South Carolina and whitewater rafting on the French Broad River in western North Carolina. In the spring, they travel to Tucson, Ariz. for a six-night environmental science field study including visits to Kitt Peak National Observatory and the University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2.
- In eighth grade, students enjoy a fall and spring field study. In the fall, eighth graders attend the Global Citizenship Action Project (GCAP), a conference in New York City about the workings of the United Nations. While in New York, students also visit the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and take in a Broadway show. In the spring, they travel to Costa Rica for a 10-night Spanish language cultural immersion field study. This capstone experience is conducted in partnership with The Summit Montessori School, and students live with host families from the School.
After Greensboro Montessori School
Upon completing eighth grade at Greensboro Montessori School, students will have the knowledge and skills to enter the following high school courses:
- English Language Arts: English I (Honors)
- Math: Math I (Honors) or Math II (Honors)
- Science: Earth/Environmental Science (Honors) or Biology (Honors)
- Social Studies: American History: The Founding Principles, Civics and Economics (Honors)
- World Languages: Spanish I, Spanish II, or Spanish III (Honors)
- Health and Physical Education: Health/Physical Education
- Electives: Varies depending on student interest; could include coursework in Arts and Education (e.g., dance, music, theater arts, visual arts, etc.), Career and Technical Training (CTE), or The Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC)
In a recent survey of graduates currently in college, 9 out of 10 respondents told us they were very well prepared for the demands of high school. Even more, they told us they were better prepared for high school than their peers. We receive similar feedback from local high school counselors and teachers, who consistently note our graduates’ capacity to manage challenging academic work; their ability to express themselves to different audiences; their compassion, empathy, confidence, creativity, resilience, and self-advocacy; and their cultural awareness and respect for all persons.
We invite you to continue exploring our website to learn more about our School. If you dive deeper into our Curriculum pages, you’ll learn more about the Montessori method and our multiage classrooms. Our fourth, fifth, and sixth graders form our Upper Elementary learning community, and and our seventh, eighth, and ninth graders form our Junior High learning community. Enjoy reading more about how education should be and how our School might be a great fit for your child. We hope to meet you soon.
Additional pages of interest:
- Alumni Profile of Joseph Taylor, Class of 2011
- Alumni Profile of Morgan Radford, Class of 2001
- Talking with Dr. Steven Hughes about Neuroscience and Montessori Blog Post
- Where are the Teachers? Blog Post
- The Montessori Advantage
- Montessori in the News
- Financial Assistance at Greensboro Montessori School