Jon Churn, Head of School, is excited to share the launch of its Adolescent Program in 2018. This new initiative will add grades 7–9 to their existing community of children, ages 18 months through 6th grade, providing a Montessori middle-school option to the families of Winston-Salem.
Jon stated, “Adding an Adolescent Program has been a desire of our school for a long time, and we have been actively planning for this for several years. It’s an idea whose time has finally come. The program offers students active participation in their education and fosters learning with a purpose. It enables them to take on adult-like roles in their school and the local community, offering them experience-based opportunities to explore important questions, such as, ‘Where do I fit in?’ ‘What will I contribute to society?’”
Montessori adolescent programs continue to become more prominent across the nation. NC cities such as Charlotte, Greensboro, Durham and Raleigh already have established Montessori adolescent programs, so this expansion through the middle-school years builds on the Montessori momentum throughout our state and nation.
“The most significant challenge facing education today,” shared Jon, “is preparing our children and adolescents for a future not yet conceived. In our time of exceedingly rapid change, facts and academic skills are no longer sufficient. Our children will also need exceptional problem-solving, communication and collaboration skills, and the ability to adapt to their ever-changing world. Montessori education and Montessori Adolescent programs, in particular, provide this opportunity.”
While rigorous academic studies and the related experiences will be challenging, what makes this pedagogical approach so unique is the students’ real-life application of concepts and skills. Adolescence is a time of intense preparation for adult life, so the Montessori project-based curriculum creates a rich academic environment, challenging the students individually and as a working team. For example, the students will be actively involved in developing micro-economies or small businesses. Examples could be organic gardening, beekeeping, producing/selling homemade jams, publishing, and artistic products. The students’ interests are respected as adult mentors and teachers help drive the projects forward. This approach creates direct avenues for students to test theories and challenge their knowledge in real-world terms. Students will employ actual applications of science in growing/raising food products, language skills in developing and communicating marketing plans, math in determining the cost of goods and profits, and civics in contributing to the local economy. Mentorships in the local community will evolve naturally as students seek the guidance and instruction of local experts.
The location for the Adolescent Program is a block away from the main campus and will add almost 7 acres to the current 8-acre facility. The school has engaged with local architectural firm Stitch Design Shop to transform the current site. The home on the new site is being converted to class and community space, and the barn will be utilized in supporting the students’ work and studies. An additional structure for class and community work is also in the plans. The new location will also provide the students a level of independence, a vital element as they transition into their adolescent years. Enrollment in the new Adolescent Program is anticipated to be up to 40 students.
The Montessori School of Winston-Salem has been part of the Winston-Salem community for more than 40 years with a current student population of over 200. The school has grown with the community since its founding in 1973 with 24 students. Each classroom is comprised of three-year multi-age groupings. Each student learns at a pace right for the child while developing academic, social and executive functioning skills. “We teach individuals within a group, not a group of individuals,” explained Jon. Each class has its own outdoor area to extend the class environment into the natural world.
For additional information on this new program, to schedule a school tour, or discuss The Montessori School of Winston-Salem’s current educational offerings, contact Trish Corbett, Director of Admissions, at 336.766.5550, via e-mail at trishcorbett@wsMontessori.org, or visit their website (wsMontessori.org). The campus is located at 6050 Holder Road, Clemmons, NC. Follow them on Facebook.