CMMS incorporates Montessori’s framework for an academic syllabus based on an interdisciplinary approach to learning. Our core curriculum is designed for individualized support in work that is meaningful and engaging. Through purposeful work students fill their potentials for creativity, communication, problem-solving, and contributions to society.
As they are trying to understand themselves, adolescents need to have the necessary language tools for interpreting information and formulating what they want to say. Our adolescent program explores language through various styles of essay, steps in the writing process, literature, vocabulary, reading applications, oral interpretation, book groups and seminars. Students also spend time cultivating their creative voice through ample writing opportunities and self-reflective journaling.
Math at CMMS is individualized and builds off their previous mathematical experiences. We introduce the use of integers, ratios, probability, statistics, pre-algebra and algebra. Work has real life applications in building projects, cooking, and work in the house and on the land. By using relevant ‘problems’ that incorporate arithmetic, geometry, graphing, and statistics, the student is allowed to see the function of math in their world. These skills are reinforced through daily individual or small group math work generated from the student, adult guide, and text resources.
Through the study of those that came before, students are connected to the long history of our species and the continuing human endeavor. Our humanities lessons are interdisciplinary in nature and typically stem from analyzing fundamental human needs and how civilizations have worked to meet those needs throughout history. These lessons inevitably lead us to discussions of current events to examine how we are continuing to meet these needs in the context of our time and place.
Through the scientific exploration of our physical world, students gain an understanding of system relationships. We look for as many opportunities as possible to do hands-on investigative research so students become more fully engaged in the process and can see that science has a direct impact on their lives. We draw from both land-based science disciplines (biology, ecology, geology, and soil science), and social sciences that allow students to investigate more deeply about their own personality and how they interact with others.
Through various forms of self-expression the adolescent is able to form, clarify, and express their inner thoughts, to both themselves and the world. Students at CMMS are encouraged to practice and incorporate forms of self-expression in all aspects of our curriculum, however, we provide formal instruction in art and music each week.
Second language acquisition is an important component for increased cultural understanding and global communication. We offer twice a week formal instruction in Spanish as a second language, and try to incorporate new language learning in other areas of the curriculum. Our Spanish instruction is based on previous experience and personal interest, and is presented in a dynamic, fun way for engagement of all levels of Spanish language ability.
Occupations are project-based studies which integrate meaningful, real-world work as it applies to the community. Occupational work provides direct experiences that are necessary for the greater good of the classroom. They incorporate foundational lessons in language, math, long-term planning, and critical thinking, with the developmental tasks of working collaboratively and finding one’s role. Examples of our occupations include: the Fundraising Committee, that plans group events and micro-economy projects to fund our field trips; the Kitchen Committee, that plans group meals and cooking experiences; our Communications Committee that puts out a student newsletter and helps update our web communications (like this website!), and others.
One of Montessori’s key concepts for this developmental plane is that building a connection to the land cultivates both a sense of belonging and responsibility. Purposeful work on the land, which we do through gardening and land-based projects, allows the whole maintenance of life from a hand-head model. This presents appropriate physical challenge while eliciting meaningful intellectual pursuit and instilling a land-ethic. Activities introduce adolescents to economic endeavors, interdependencies among groups of people, and concrete uses of local resources.
Cascades Montessori Middle School
2710 McKenzie Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225
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