Washington Montessori’s Middle School program has been carefully designed to support the needs and tendencies of early adolescents. In putting together our program, we have given attention to balancing the early adolescent need for activity and movement with the importance of developing attentiveness and concentration. Our school year is divided into four units, each focusing on a theme that is important to adolescent growth. Science and humanities classes use these themes, along with guiding questions, to encourage student involvement and to create an integrated curriculum.
Our humanities curriculum focuses on a study of American history during sixth and seventh grades and world history in eighth. Literature and writing assignments are woven into each humanities unit.
The sixth and seventh grade science curriculum concentrates on life science one year and earth and physical science the next. In eighth grade, in addition to the continuing experimental science curriculum, students participate in a research project that includes long-term investigation, writing and a formal presentation.
Math is taught in small groups in Middle School, with programs matched to individual developmental needs. At the end of eighth grade, students will have completed either an Introduction to Algebra course or a complete Algebra I course.
Middle School students also take classes in Spanish, Latin, Life Skills, Art, Music and Physical Education. In all of our classes, attention to organization and management skills is an important component of the work we do.
Middle School Community
Early adolescence is a particularly sensitive period for learning to participate in the life of a community. Service, outdoor education, field studies and trips are important components of a Montessori program for students this age. At WMS, sixth grade students learn to work together by organizing a pizza business and working in our school’s garden. Seventh graders participate in a rite of passage program called “The Hero’s Journey” which offers an opportunity to reflect on the challenges of growing up and encourages students to identify personal goals. Eighth grade students explore their connection to the world outside WMS, interning for a week in a field that interests them and researching and presenting information about global issues. Our after-school activities include sports, an outdoor club, yoga, Middle School band and a Middle School chorus. Outdoor Education and class trips offer us a chance to spend time together outside of school. These activities have been carefully chosen to offer students the opportunities they need to become independent, self- aware, caring and responsible.