Middle School (6th, 7th & 8th grade)
Montessori on the Lake’s Middle School is a unique space for the adolescent child. It is an academic preparatory program for children in sixth, seventh and eighth grade. Our philosophy is to help students navigate three critical areas: academic, social and emotional growth. In a few short years, the students must be ready to succeed in high school. We work tirelessly to help them achieve academic success. Time is also devoted to help them overcome social and emotional challenges that are a part of becoming a teenager.
The Middle School classroom is a true “transition” class. We continue to promote a love of learning and hands-on exploration and research synonymous with Montessori, while also teaching the skills required in a standard high school setting. For example, they are taught how to use text books in math and history, and they are taught how to study for tests and understand their grade point averages. The students work at the same pace with set deadlines, but there are opportunities for them to receive individual help when it is needed. The goal is for each child to succeed. When problems arise, we work as a team with parents to establish a plan going forward.
The teachers impart a love of reading, writing, math and science. Many of our students go on to AP and Honors classes in high school. In math, if a student completes Algebra in the seventh grade, he or she takes Geometry in the eighth grade. Thus, the program maintains structure and benchmarks while also allowing for individuals who are more advanced to move ahead. The first year students naturally take more time than second or third year students, as they are learning to use planners and juggle multiple assignments. Although there are nightly homework assignments, we offer Study Hall after school, where teachers are available to help the students. Topics taught in English include grammar, punctuation, Greek and Latin Roots, Vocabulary, Poetry, Literary Analysis, Thesis Papers, Spelling, Penmanship and much more. Science is taught in both lecture format and continues to emphasize hands-on experiential learning through participating in experiments and labs where the class is broken up into small groups of 6-8 students.
Starting with the sixth grade, students receive standard A through F grades. We teach them to average and monitor their grades. We want the students to improve in five core areas: time management, organization of work, producing top quality work, study skills and test-taking skills. The goals for each child are supervised by the teacher so that they can be reached successfully for each child.
The academic emphasis is balanced with a rich immersion into cultural studies. Spanish is taught daily, as well as a weekly schedule which includes; Computers, Woodworking and Art, Instrumental Music and Physical Education. Drama is an integral part of the program. The students all participate in a full-length production, which may be Shakespeare or more modern plays. The students can act or work as Stage Manager or with lighting and sound. Drama teaches teamwork and builds speaking confidence.
The Middle School takes two special trips each year. Early in the year, we take an overnight camping trip to Joshua Tree National Park, where we help each other pitch tents, hike, learn about homesteading and the Indian tribes who lived there. At the end of the year, the students participate in a domestic or international 10 day trip. The destination is to a place we have studied during the year. If we studied Medieval Times, we may go to England or Spain. If we studied ancient civilizations, we may go to Italy, Turkey, Greece or Egypt. If we studied the Americas, we may go to New York, Central America or Alaska. This trip is considered field study, and there is no better way to learn about the pyramids of Giza than to stand before them.