The years of establishing values and social development.
There are two vitally important Montessori principles underlying all that early adolescents do 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, Knysna Montessori School students at this age have the option to be weekly boarders at the boarding facility.
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.
Since this is the age when many of the students become financially aware, the teachers and mentors run entrepreneurship as an extra-curricula subject. 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, running a hothouse, raising chickens, wood-chopping, car washing, catering for and hosting functions, running a tuck-shop, banking and producing the school magazine and maintenance of the school. Besides the hands-on practical work incorporated in the business, they have to keep books and hostel cheque books, budget, take orders, advertise, market their products, and sell their produce at the Friday Market. The school allows students to interact daily with their peers, helping them to develop their social skills and establish their values. Mentorship is always on hand.
Montessori compares the young adolescent age to the 3 – 6 age group, in terms of their need for concrete rather than abstract learning. The Knysna Montessori School caters for this through the actual running of small businesses and projects, integrating different learning areas, and consequently creating the opportunity for “hands-on” experience.
The Knysna Montessori School caters for 60 students within the 12 – 15 age and weekly hostel boarding is optional. There are two classes of 30, each with their own register teacher. Specialist teachers are responsible for different learning areas.
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.
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.
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 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, mountain biking, surfing, tennis, extra netball, music, voice training and ballet.