The years of critical thinking.
The 9 - 12 age group are discovering their own enormous potential. They are at the critical thinking stage of their lives and as a matter of course they critically examine and focus on all which is presented to them. They are naturally self-involved; intent on finding out about themselves and their own positive abilities, but also learning to overcome the difficulties presented in relating socially to others. The key element at this stage is focussing on the specific.
These students are able to grasp more abstract concepts and thus fewer hands-on materials are required. However, geometry concepts and terminology appear to fascinate these critical thinkers and much of the traditional junior high school syllabus is covered during these years.
They have already learnt how to research and now tend to become more involved with in-depth exploring of topics of interest, covered in the Five Great Stories and other key time-lines. Individual and group projects are discussed, researched completed and then shared with others during presentations. To enhance this sensitive period of critical thinking, these presentations are evaluated by the group.
Moral development at this stage continues to be fostered with debates on moral issues. These children often act without thinking. Insisting that they take responsibility for their actions is necessary. Their tendency to be socially critical and verbally aggressive is an integrated part of their growth on their journey towards young adulthood.
The Knysna Montessori School caters for 50 students at this level, with one director and one directress, as well as an assistant. The directoress and director are each is allotted a register group and specialise in one particular area - maths, language. Cultural subjects are shared equally. In addition, there is an assistant teacher to help with reading.
The daily programme:
The programme includes: Morning ring, followed by a three hour work cycle, comprising of Maths, English and Cultural Subjects. Cultural Subjects encompass all the government learning areas, but they are presented in an integrated and holistic manner. The programme continues with Music, Art, Afrikaans, Basic Computer Skills, Technology and Sport.
The programme is balanced with outings to places of interest. Drama is encouraged and all children take part in the annual play, as well as celebrating festival days. Children are encouraged to play chess and other board games in the class, when work is complete.
Sport and extra-mural activities:
The 9 - 12 children do sport daily from 2 - 3pm. They are encouraged to play team sports and further their ball skills. Summer sports include swimming and athletics, and winter sports are hockey, netball and soccer.
Other sports and extra-mural activities which take place from the school include extra swimming, mountain biking, surfing, tennis, extra netball, music, voice
training and ballet.