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Adolescent Program

Adolescent Development 

Maria Montessori asserted and modern neuroscience has since confirmed that tremendous physical and psychological development occurs during adolescence. Dr. Montessori observed the following characteristics during this plane of development:

  • Great changes in the physical body as the child enters puberty
  • A need for independence from the family while also requiring their continued support
  • Strong and varied emotional experiences
  • A need for experiential learning or to learn by doing
  • Further development and refinement of their moral perspective
  • A need to discover their future career

Importantly, many researchers have found that the majority of teens consider boredom in school a normal part of their development into adulthood. However, adolescents who are engaged in school experience higher academic achievement rates and commitment to their education.

What do Adolescents Need in Order to Engage and Thrive?

  • to feel like they are part of a community; to feel supported, connected, and valued
  • to engage in active collaboration and governance of their community
  • to engage in adult-like projects, ideas, and tasks with sufficient support
  • to interact with the community beyond school in authentic ways
  • to feel like they are making a unique contribution to the group
  • to be challenged mentally and physically as they engage in real, purposeful work
  • to try on different roles (e.g., poet, marine biologist, illustrator, engineer, etc.)
  • exposure to a wide variety of academic disciplines as they explore interdisciplinary connections
  • opportunities for self-expression
  • adults in their lives who understand the change they are undergoing and respond with understanding, coaching, guidance, and challenge

If the needs of adolescents are met during this period of time, they form a solid foundation upon which to build the rest of their lives. Maria Montessori described it this way: “The consciousness of knowing how to make oneself useful, how to help [humankind] in many ways, fills the soul with noble confidence.”

What Will the Montessori Adolescent Program Look Like at Parkside?

In addition to the Montessori-specific program aspects outlined below, project-based units and core content will align with the California State Standards. Additional work within the Montessori curriculum will allow students to follow passions and extend their learning beyond expected standards. 

Adolescent Need

Program Aspects

Care of Self and Others
  • Grace & Courtesy and SEL program
  • Monthly Community Service
  • Community Circles to include connection rituals, well wishes, problem-solving, gratitude, etc.
  • Advisory groups
  • Weekly community meetings
  • Whole-class consensus building 
Care of Environment, Community, and Land
  • Serve as supporters and role models for younger peers and the school community (ex. Tour guides, reading buddies, office support, garden managers, etc)
  • Care and design of classroom and materials
  • Community service
Connection to the Economy
  • Collaborate with PTA on projects such as yearly T-shirt sale 
  • Run a quarterly Pop-up shop to sell items such as Lavender sachets, T-shirts, plants, and Friendship bracelets
  • Host parent night out options for younger families including designing the theme, planning activities, advertising, and managing sign-ups