Ages 11 to 14 years
Sixth through eighth grade
The middle school years are characterized by significant growth and change cognitively, socially, emotionally and physiologically. At The Greensboro Montessori School, the sixth, seventh and eighth grade Middle School curriculum is based on Montessori principles, incorporates state educational guidelines, and reflects current research being done on adolescent development and learning. A core team of four full-time and three part-time teachers plans and implements a rigorous curriculum that is integrated thematically across all subject areas and provides a culmination to the early childhood and elementary Montessori classroom experience. The emphasis on interdisciplinary studies is heightened through regular work on small team and individual research projects. Students are challenged according to their unique academic ability and are given the opportunity to advance at their own pace. On a regular basis, class time is devoted to helping students develop strong organizational, study, and computer skills.
In addition to the core academic curriculum of humanities, science, and mathematics, GMS offers a full range of Liberal Arts courses including; performing arts and visual arts, Spanish language and culture, and computer skills. A unique aspect of the performance and production program offered to Middle School students includes the exploration of music recording, sound engineering and filmmaking.
Students continue their study of the Spanish language and culture, taking classes four times per week. By 9th grade, most students are ready to study advanced level Spanish.
The Middle School program is specifically designed to support students academically, personally and socially during their transition into adolescence. In response to current research on adolescent development, GMS has incorporated numerous programs that focus on practical life skills, which are central to Montessori education at each age level. Students participate in environmental education through gardening and permaculture activities on-campus and at our 40-acre outdoor Land Lab facility in Oak Ridge, NC.
They are active in the operation of all aspects of a student-run restaurant program for approximately 50 people including menu selection, food preparation, kitchen sanitation, and budgeting.
Three-year Adolescent Transitions and Wellness Program based on the work of Joseph Campbell to meet the needs of young people as they undergo major life changes to adulthood:
- A Brave New World for 6th level students addresses the transition from Upper Elementary to Middle School
- Heroic Journey for 7th level students addresses familial, societal and peer related pressures adolescents face
- Vision Quest for 8th level students addresses issues face as they transition to new schools and prepare for their lives as independent and responsible citizens.
Students meet to achieve mutual goals in a spirit of peace and respect while practicing democratic governance and leadership skills.
Students meet every week with a middle school faculty member in a small group setting where emotional and academic support and guidance is offered.
Students work in the classrooms of younger students to assist teachers and provide mentoring and role modeling opportunities.
Students research and choose a group service project and volunteer in the Greensboro community.
Students operate a micro-economy, which includes Culinary Arts (Maria’s Cafe), Research & Design Lab, Gardening, Tribal Council, Community Service and Yearbook rotations throughout the year.
Extended Annual Field Trips
In addition to numerous day-long field trips, middle school students participate in five to ten day trips each year:
6th levels travel to Washington D.C. visiting sites pertaining to their studies of history, science and the arts.
7th levels travel to Tucson, AZ visiting sites pertaining to their studies of the Westward expansion
8th levels culminate their studies with a 10 day trip to Costa Rica where they visit wildlife preserves, volunteer at a turtle hatchery, zip line through the rain forest with students from GMS’s sister Montessori school in San Jose.
Open participation in team sports with the Independent School League is another vital element to the Middle School program at GMS. Emphasis is placed on positive, cooperative team play rather than competition. Boys and girls play on teams together and effort is made to give equal playing time. Middle school sports include volleyball, cross-country, basketball, flag football and soccer, but may differ from year to year as determined by the coaches of the participating independent schools.
Quotes from GMS Middle School students:
“I like that we have opportunities to explore and don’t have to follow a set path.”
“I like how we can learn at our own pace and choose our own work.”
“We are encouraged to challenge ourselves.”
“The teachers are welcoming and understanding.”
“Nothing is a lecture. It’s a discussion.”