Middle School Curriculum
Classroom communities in middle school are organized in multilevel grades, with 7th and 8th grades combined. Each quarter of middle school is taught under one of the eight Clark Montessori Instructional Themes, chosen based on the academic requirements of middle school students and the developmental needs of the adolescent.
The eight middle school instructional themes are:
- Explorations and New Beginnings
- Independence & Interdependence
- Leadership through Stewardship
- Acquiring a Sense of Belonging
In addition to relating academic work to these themes, the teachers incorporate group initiatives, field study, and culminating celebrations around the chosen theme. Core to the Montessori curriculum at this level is field studies. Students in middle school benefit from two field study experiences: Fall camping and the Andros Island Marine Biology Field Study.
"During the difficult time of adolescence, it is helpful to leave the accustomed environment of the family in the town and go to quiet surroundings in the country, close to nature. The calm surroundings, the silence, the wonders of nature satisfy the need of the adolescent mind for reflection and meditation." —Maria Montessori
The fall camping experience is so much more than a mere field trip. Like all of our field experiences, it is Clark Montessori's way of providing our children with a taste of Maria Montessori's vision for adolescents, her "erdkinder." But it goes even further than that!
- Provides the opportunity for students to develop independence, interdependence and self-reliance
- Posters new relationships between students, their teachers and the environment
- Allows freedom to act on individual initiative within limits and rules that give necessary guidance
- Fosters in students the power of self-adjustment to new environments, which ultimately results in a happy social life and that facilitates individual progress
- Opens us all to the wonders of nature
- Helps students to understand their place in the world.
During camp week and the actual camping experience, students will participate in:
- Tent set-up, care and clean-up
- Planning, preparing, cooking and clean-up of meals
- Care of equipment that must be shared and used by all junior high communities
- Living together in the close confines of a tent with new classmates
- Building the campfire and the beauty and power of fire
- Communication, cooperation and fun are involved in canoeing, hiking and bicycling.
- Learning about and designing experiments involving bats or spiders
- Activities and games that provide opportunities for cooperation and fun rather than competition
Andros Island, The Bahamas
The culminating experience for Clark's eighth-grade students is the field study trip to Andros Island in the Bahamas. Students lodge at Forfar Marine Biology Field Station for land studies and cultural studies and sail with Forfar staff to study wind theory and the coral reefs.
This field study is designed so that students:
- Experience another culture through first-hand interaction, and develop an appreciation of another culture.
- Challenge themselves academically, socially, and physically.
- Identify Caribbean reef species, including invertebrates, corals, fishes, and algae.
- Study the interrelationships among species in the coral reef ecosystem.
- Explore the various ecosystems including blue holes, mangroves, and shorelines.
- Study coral reef development and types of reef formations.
- Observe and discuss the human impact on an island and reef ecosystem.
- Learn the basics/fundamentals of living on and helping to operate a sailboat
- Students keep a Field Journal which includes lecture notes, interviews, research and sketches, and daily written reflections about their experiences. They write a formal paper and present research on a major and minor topic and assess themselves daily on their leadership skills.
Seventh-grade students are encouraged to earn at least half the cost of this trip through school-organized fundraising events and personal savings. Actual academic and leadership preparation occurs throughout grade 8 with intensive preparation the week prior to the trip.
Special Needs Intervention
Clark Montessori provides quality instruction for students who have special needs. Students are supported in the general education classroom by an Intervention Specialist who collaborates with the community teachers to provide accommodations and modifications aligned with each student’s Individual Education Plan.
In addition, students may meet with an Intervention Specialist in an intervention elective, a supported study hall, and/or during solo time for help with organization and time management strategies, social skills training, content tutoring, goal setting and assessment.