One of the great advantages of a Montessori environment is the way traditional subject areas can be integrated together. For example, our Middle School students recently did a unit exploring how science and politics interface around the topics of global warming and government. These types of learning opportunities can be more engaging and offer practical “real-world” problem-solving skills.
Team teaching by multi-talented staff combined with a flexible classroom schedule makes this possible. Cooperative planning in the middle school has allowed Jenn Jordan (with her background in Science/Technology education and Anthropology) and Tim Marsh (with his background in Math education and History) to stretch the limits of traditional classroom subject areas. But they’re not stopping there.
Why not? Because integrating subject areas is an ideal which not only works well in Montessori settings, but is also supported by the latest findings in educational research. Recently there has been a strong push to turn STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education) into STEAM by adding a healthy dose of arts to the mix. In this case, “arts” is taken in the broadest sense of the word including Humanities as well as the fine arts, bringing both creativity and exploration of the arts into the mix. The goal is to teach academic and life skills in a reality‐based, personally relevant exploratory learning environment.
In the Sedona Charter School Middle School, students have opportunities to develop leadership, teambuilding, and time management skills; singing and songwriting skills; and Spanish-speaking skills. They can participate in school orchestra, and create and perform in a play. They can participate in the Montessori Model United Nations Conference in New York City, and explore real-world science on Catalina Island in California and at Camp Colley in the White Mountains. They will build strong skills in math and English language arts.
In short, we work to immerse our students in a well-rounded educational environment led by outstanding teachers, which will help prepare them for success in high school, college, and life!