Junior High at the Land Campus – Over Night – Tuesday to Friday
The Land is the Montessori prepared environment for the adolescent. Junior High students spend 3-4 days, approximately every sixth week on our Land Laboratory at a retreat center in Oak Ridge. There are 40 acres of meadows and pine and hardwood forests. During their time on the Land, students participate in primarily two types of projects. They are either in small group interest projects and large group service-learning projects. Students engage in group projects to work with others towards a common goal.
The GMS Land Laboratory outdoor education program was designed by a team of Montessori teachers in 2004. Based on Dr. Maria Montessori’s vision of the Erdkinder, early adolescent students travel to a wooded retreat in Oak Ridge, NC every six to eight weeks for 3 nights and 4 days, camping with no electricity and transporting their water in jugs and bins on student-made “chariots” constructed from repurposed bicycles.
Students spend their days in rotations linked to their school curriculum, based on Dr. Montessori’s Great Lessons, studying the natural world, collecting and analyzing data for a local river conservancy, re-creating experiences based in history from medieval trebuchets to Victorian letterboxes, and engaging in team problem-solving activities. The campers stay in shelters that were built by students and maintain their camp sites and outdoor community based on principles of a Just Community.
Students are grouped into multi-age tribes represented by Raccoon, Black Bear, and Otter. In tribe rotations, students apply knowledge studied in the classroom during the pervious learning cycle.