The curriculum for adolescents, beginning in 7th grade, ushers in a new stage of development. Students’ needs and potential are supported by increasingly sophisticated work, choices, and responsibilities. The two years students spend in Jr. High weave academic research and skills with experiences that connect these emerging adults to the real work of adulthood. Guided by a nuanced understanding of the gifts and challenges of adolescence, lessons are often given in the context of class projects. The Montessori Junior High School environment challenges and inspires students to acquire new information, master new skills, and make deep connections with people and ideas to promote critical thinking and problem-solving.
How does Junior High School differ from Middle School? The short answer is that the mixed-age groupings in a Montessori school are based on human development. Around age 12, people experience dramatic changes of body and brain: the beginning of adolescence. In Montessori schools, as well as in other systems – some conventional – 6th grade is the Capstone Year of Elementary.