Montessori School of Denver
Middle School Program
(ages 11-14, grades 6-8)
MIDDLE SCHOOL CURRICULUM OVERVIEW
Dr. Montessori defined four stages of development and labeled them as the “Four Planes of Development,” noting that within these stages, the development is intense at the beginning, consolidates, and then tapers to the next. Middle School students are starting the “Third Plane of Development” that lasts from ages 12-18 years and is a plane of intense creation focused on the “Creation of the Social Self.” Other characteristics of this developmental period include:
- Critical thinking and re-evaluation
- Transition both physically and mentally
- Beginning to try to find a place in this world
- Construction of social and moral values
- Solidified cultural development
- Emotional independence – “I can stand on my own”
- Self-concern and self-assessment
The MSD middle school curriculum is designed to meet the developmental needs of the adolescent, including physical, emotional, social, and cognitive needs and is benchmarked against state and independent school academic standards and the goal is valorization of the student, that is, helping the adolescent become a strong and capable person. This is accomplished when adolescents have appropriate responsibilities and expectations, are able to experience the joy that comes from successfully meeting challenges, and have the resilience that results from learning from poor decisions. The student outcome strived for is joy, selflessness, optimism, confidence, dignity, self-discipline, initiative, independence, helpfulness, good judgment, and ability to work with others.
Core Curriculum Areas
The curriculum in the middle school is organized around broad themes that are designed to serve as points of integration of the curriculum and based on Colorado State Standards. In some areas, notably history, science, and language arts, students will study the same content area, in multi-age groupings that rotates over a three-year cycle of study. However, the follow-up lessons and expectations will be appropriately designed to match the students’ developmental levels and provide opportunities for a student to pursue a personal interest through further research and investigation.
In addition to academic content areas, the Middle School curriculum includes:
- Specials classes in Spanish, Physical Education, and Music & Theater. *Library Science skills are integrated with Language Arts in Middle School.
- Occupations & Concentrations class offerings that are often student-driven and capture and speak to our kids’ interests such as: Urban Farm, Vertical Farm, Videography, Newsletter, Conversational Spanish, Poetry, Comic Book Creation, Robotics, Civics, Mythology, Home Economics, Mindfulness, and Ukulele Building.
- Elective classes that may include: Micro-Economy, Production Crafts, Sustainability and Green Design, Climbing Wall, Ultimate Disk, Field Hockey, Art for Social Justice, Mural Painting, Ceramics, Songwriting and Music Production, Technical Theater and Set Design, Guitar, and Glee Club.
- A weekly Socratic Seminar to seek a deeper understanding about the ideas in a text and to build skills in the areas of reading, listening, reflection, critical thinking, and discussion.
- Two, weeklong “Intersessions” to provide an intensive, integrated themed experience, with service-learning/do-good and “hands on” components.
- An emphasis is placed on the development of organizational and time management skills.
- Overnight trips such as visiting Camp Cheley in Estes Park to participate in ropes courses, hiking, service work, and team building activities. An annual Eighth-grade trip to Boston, Massachusetts that is integrated with the History, Humanities, and Language Arts curriculum.
- Do good initiatives on campus such as reading buddies, classroom and administrative assistants, Facilities and event helpers, as well as in the greater community such as making blankets for Project Linus, collecting and distributing items for homeless youth, and making lunches for The Gathering Place.
- Eighth-grade Capstone Projects to prepare these students for high school and to demonstrate their mastery of the MSD mission and Middle School values at the conclusion of Eighth-grade.