The Journey School provides instruction in English and language arts; mathematics; history; science; art; music; physical education; the environment; the economy; and, civics using the integrated, project-based adolescent program design of Dr. Montessori. TJS employs Association Montessori International (AMI) trained guides to lead a multi-age classroom of students grades 6 to 8.
The Montessori adolescent curriculum fosters critical and analytical thinking. The curriculum provides students with the experiences and skills that they will need in order to build a foundation of life-long learning and to be successful in any secondary school setting and beyond. The learning environment in the adolescent community reflects the developmental need for social interaction, self-expression, and self-knowledge.
Humanities: The adolescent humanities program is an interdisciplinary exploration of history, geography, creative and expository writing, literature, philosophy, and grammar. Students are exposed to classical and contemporary literature and philosophies. Confidence in self-expression is developed through the use of the seminar, oral presentation, debates, drama, visual arts, essays, play writing, poetry, short stories and historical fiction. Seminars (Socratic and literature circles) are used to develop critical thinking skills in the analysis of thoughts, ideas and philosophies.
Mathematics: Students will be using mathematics to explore and create and build in their environment and occupations. In addition to direct key lessons on foundational mathematical concepts, they will work with local mathematicians, engineers, and scientists.
Science: The science curriculum stresses a hands-on, inquiry based approach to an understanding of the interdependence of the natural world and human life through interdisciplinary study of ecology, geology, biology, physics, chemistry, and comparative anatomy. The land and surrounding community provides a natural laboratory for this study.
Fine arts: Students will explore opportunities to express themselves in various artistic mediums including writing, drawing, painting, sculpting, computer programming and graphics. In addition students will have access to local artists, writers, and musicians to present and guide in our school.
The Land: Fortunately, the Journey School’s location includes a number of Maryland working farms. Therefore, the Journey School will seek out opportunities to work in both a traditional farm setting and an “urban” farm setting in the city at least once a week.
Micro-economy: “Micro-economy” is Dr. Montessori’s term for the facet of the adolescent program where students identify, develop, and ultimately market a product or service to the greater community. The intention is to graphically illustrate to the student participants one manner in which their “worth” or “value” to the community is demonstrated.
Enrichment Experiences: The Journey is a key component of the Montessori adolescent program academic and social experience. The goal of the Journey is to provide a rich educational experience for the students with a focus on learning and bonding. The Journey is a curriculum focused trip that allows the students to experience first-hand what they are learning in the classroom. Examples of curriculum focused experiences are: Colonial Williamsburg, Plymouth Plantation, Smithsonian Museums, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and, New York.
The Seminar: The seminar format, or Socratic Circle, is a foundational format of discussion, used in the curriculum, designed to develop critical thinking through listening, reading, critical analysis, questioning and reflecting. In the seminar true classroom discussion and dialogue take place as the students work together and share their own ideas, build knowledge based on prior information being applied to new situations, test out their own hypotheses and perspectives against those of their peers, and arrive at an answer that has been constructed through personal experience, critical thought, rhetoric and discourse. Students examine texts, and rather than read, listen and answer, students engage in lively, respectful discussion and learn to ask probing questions in order to construct meaning from what they have read and avoid focusing on a “correct” interpretation of the text.
The Community Meeting and Peer Problem Solving: The adolescent requires choice, order, and feeling cared for while being offered freedom to experience their social life in a dignified way. The Journey School will support students by empowering the student body to make decisions about the organization of their school in Community Council meetings. Students will organize and preside over meetings where general community decisions- including chore responsibilities-are made. Adults will serve as advisors and models to the adolescent community. Through these Community Council meetings civility and respect will be demonstrated. A values and ethics guide will be created and predominately displayed throughout the school to remind everyone who enters the community, what the expectations are.
Daily Structure: The 3-hour morning work cycle is still the core of the day in the Adolescent Program, and is the time when most of the academic work takes place, including individual work, seminars, daily assignments, long-term assignments, planning, and a variety of means for demonstrating mastery: tests, projects and presentations. The afternoon is generally set aside for focused work like art, music, outdoor projects, large group projects and writing workshops.
Outdoor chores and care for the classroom environment take place first thing in the morning and last thing in the afternoon.
Preparation for Life Beyond Montessori: The final goal of the education syllabus is supporting the adolescent into adult life. Students will fully realize the world around them with carefully prepared opportunities to do meaningful work that will prepare them for life beyond college.