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Videos show Montessori method in middle school

Maria Montessori’s view on education in the first 12 years of children’s lives is well-known—she believed in self-directed learning, grounded in exploration. But the famous educator also had views on adolescence. She believed it was critical to satisfy teenagers’ need for independence and hunger for inquiry while reinforcing the importance of our connection to one another.

Montessori students in RPS 205 celebrate last May after they raised have raised nearly $10,000 to build a girls school in Kenya.

Montessori students in RPS 205 celebrate last May after they raised nearly $10,000 to build a girls school in Kenya.

Montessori principles are at work every day at the Montessori Middle School at Thurgood Marshall School in the Rockford Public Schools. A video now available on the RPS 205 You Tube channel describes how Montessori learning takes place in a mixed group of seventh and eighth graders assigned to two core content teachers. The students spend large blocks of uninterrupted learning time doing research projects, independent reading and writing, and complex math processes. They learn the Socratic method of critical thinking by asking and answering questions.  They study life cycles through observations of animal care and by planting and maintaining a garden. They complete 36 hours of community service per year.

In one of the student’s words: “This is the type of program that will make kids look forward to coming to school.”

Want to learn more? Click here to see both a short (1:34) and a long (3:21) video about the Montessori middle school approach in RPS 205. The videos were done by Alan Leon, the district’s audio/video production manager and a former Montessori teacher.

Mary Kaull is communications coordinator for the Rockford Public Schools. Click here to subscribe to this blog. Also, please like RPS 205 on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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