The years of establishing values and social development.
There are three vitally important Montessori principles underlying all that early adolescents do. They are:
- Firstly, they learn to recognise and to establish their own values – moral, social, personal and ethical – all the values which will help them take their place as responsible contributing members of society;
- Secondly, they learn social interaction and understanding. During this age they can also become sensitive to music and poetry. In order to establish and nourish these principles, KnysnaMontessoriSchool students at this age have the option to be weekly boarders at the boarding facility.
- Finally, this is the age when Montessori felt that the students need to become financially aware. The KnysnaMontessoriSchool caters for this through the actual running of micro-businesses which allows the integration of all subjects. Here young teenagers learn entrepreneurship, budgeting, responsibility, self-discipline and tolerance in an environment where social interaction, self-confidence, self-esteem and creativity develop and thrive. A work ethic in a practical sense develops, and this is transferred into the academic arena. Finally, the running of micro businesses not only helps with learning the principles of business but also helps with redeveloping the self image and self worth of the adolescent.
The KnysnaMontessoriSchool caters for 50-60 students within the 12 – 15 age and weekly boarding is strongly recommended for at least one of the three years for this age group. There are two classes of 25-30, each with their own register teacher. Specialist teachers are responsible for different learning areas. Daily transport between George and Knysna is available.
The daily programme:
The programme includes: Running of small businesses, followed by a three hour working cycle covering the different learning areas. These consist of English, Afrikaans, Mathematics, Life Orientation, Economics and Management Sciences, Arts and Culture, Technology, Natural Sciences and Human and Social Sciences. Continual assessments and regular tests assures that each child is achieving the standards required.
The day starts at 8:00 promptly and those children not boarding are free to go home from 4:00pm
The programme is balanced with educational outings and tours, relating to their studies. Drama is encouraged and all children take part in the annual play.
Montessori compares the young adolescent age to the 3 – 6 age group, in terms of their need for concrete rather than abstract learning. The running of small businesses helps with this by pulling on all areas of their learning. Students write C.V.’s on a termly basis to apply for a particular job within the small businesses that have been created at the school. These include: vegetable and seedling gardening, raising farmyard animals, wood-chopping, car washing, catering for and hosting functions, making preserves, running a tuck-shop, banking, crafts and maintenance of the school. Besides the hands-on practical work incorporated in the business, they have to keep books and the school cheque book, budget, take orders, advertise, market their products, and sell their produce at the Friday Market. The businesses allow students to interact daily with their peers, helping them to develop their social skills and establish their values. Mentorship is always on hand.
The Knysna Montessori School Boarding House is the only Montessori Boarding House in Southern Africa and was established in 2004. The environment and its facilities have proven to be an outstanding success. It houses happy, busy students, in an informal, vibrant, co-operative and creative atmosphere. Our Boarding House currently has space for 34 boarders.
Sport and extra-mural activities:
The 12 – 15 children do sport daily from 3 – 4pm. They are encouraged to play team sports and further their ball skills. Summer sports include swimming, cricket and athletics, and winter sports, hockey, netball and soccer.
Other sports and extra mural activities which take place from the school include adventure racing, extra swimming, 360 Ball, tennis, extra netball and music.