Our Middle School Program
The Middle School course of study reflects an integration of the Montessori philosophy with Georgia's Standards of Excellence, time-tested research on the developmental needs of early adolescents and the skills needed for a productive life. Unlike other programs at Springmont, the Middle School students are graded on weekly assessments and cycles of study. Self-discipline and organization are skills included in the curriculum.
Language Arts encompasses the study of the main components of language: literature, writing and the conventions of grammar. These three areas of language are woven together and explored through a mix of text-based instruction, classroom discussion, vocabulary studies, reading and writing. Students build their knowledge of language through continued study of vocabulary contained in literature as well as through direct instruction. Writing is an ongoing practice where students refine their skills while exploring a wide variety of writing styles with emphasis on grammar and writing conventions. Literary studies incorporate the reading and discussion of both classic and contemporary literature and encompasses the study of literary elements and styles.
Math courses are taught in a classroom-style setting after which students are given time for extensive one-on-one work sessions with the Teacher. Though the emphasis is on the fundamentals of mathematics, students receive opportunities to apply their knowledge of math in electives, science and the microeconomy. Placement for incoming students is determined by prior work done, a diagnostic exam and conversations with parents, the student and the Upper Elementary teacher. The following standard courses are offered along with other mathematics courses that may be offered on an as-needed basis:
Applied Algebra: Students learn how to translate the arithmetic-based mathematics into equation-based mathematics. Students also begin to use more than one set of skills within individual problems, such as solving equations that use fractions. Topics include expressions, equations, integers, decimals, basic number theory, rational numbers, inequalities, linear fractions, ratio, proportion, percent and geometry.
Algebra I: This is considered to be the foundation of nearly all mathematics in high school and beyond. Students expand their basic knowledge of arithmetic and algebraic equations to solve a variety of equation-based problems. An emphasis is placed on learning how to justify the reason for a particular solution. Topics include integers, rational numbers, equations, inequalities, exponents, polynomials, factoring, graphs, linear equations, systems of equations, absolute value, rational expressions and equations, radical expressions and equations, relations and functions, and quadratic equations.
Geometry: The role of this course is twofold – first, expanding the students’ knowledge of special relations, and secondly, to serve as a foundation course for Logic. Deductive reasoning and critical thinking play key roles in Geometry, particularly as students learn how to prove solutions and theorems in a step-by-step format. Topics include proofs, parallel lines and planes, congruent triangles and applications, similarity, right triangles, circles, constructions and loci, polygons, surface area and volume, and coordinate geometry.
The Science curriculum focuses on experiential learning, discovering connections in the natural world, working in small groups and independent research. Using a lab-based approach, students explore concepts in a hands-on manner, followed up by lessons, assignments, readings and assessments. Projects that directly relate to the material previously studied allow students to expand upon their knowledge and practice their scientific writing and public speaking skills by presenting their findings.
Science is a two-year course of study encompassing Life Science and Physical Science.
Life Science involves the origin, function, and structure of living beings, and their interrelated role in the environment.
Physical Science is divided into two fields: chemistry and physics. Physics primarily deals with Newtonian (classical) physics, which studies the interaction of matter at the visible level. Chemistry involves the interaction of matter at the molecular level.
This two-year course includes the study of geography and history. The Geography curriculum includes the study of location, place, movements, regions, and interactions of people and their environment. The History curriculum focuses on the progress of people and their environment through investigation of world and United States history. Students undertake individual and group work, including creative projects and presentations. The Middle School curriculum is divided into two carefully designed modules. Module one explores pre-history up through the age of discovery. Module two focuses on the global intersection of cultures and governments alongside the rise of geographic interdependence.
Latin & Classics is a two-year course of study including the study of the Latin language, Logic and Philosophy. Each of these areas of study has an immense impact on the academic and mental development of the young adolescent.
Numerous studies have shown that the study of Latin enhances the acquisition of critical language and vocabulary skills, especially in the years leading up to high school. Springmont’s Latin program provides an overview of Latin syntax and vocabulary, while also enhancing the understanding of romance language sentence construction and creative writing skills. Translation exercises, taught in tandem with historical analysis, maintain interest and accentuate the cross-curriculum approach essential for a Montessori Middle School.
Logic and Philosophy both provide a historically proven method for problem-solving and critical thinking. Logic takes the adolescent outside of themselves, creating a framework that is more balanced and rational than the egocentric one that many adolescents are prone to utilize. Philosophy requires a deeply inquiring approach to understanding behaviors and actions. In tandem, these subjects better prepare an adolescent to think more clearly and precisely about various matters, whether it be possible peer pressures or correctly interpreting a test question.
The study of Spanish language and Hispanic culture continues during the Middle School years under the direction of a native speaker. Students develop and explore Spanish language skills and oral proficiency around a variety of topics and themes where they learn Spanish vocabulary, phrases and grammar. As the students become familiar with the spoken word, they sometimes arrange to go to Spanish-speaking community establishments to further their understanding of the culture.
The Adolescent Life curriculum includes the study of issues pertinent to the social, emotional and physical needs of early adolescents. Students learn about and discuss topics such as healthy relationships, friendships, communication, character, digital consciousness, adolescent development, stress management, self-esteem, drug education, and sexuality.
The tone is set at the beginning of each academic year as the Middle School community joins together at the Landschool. This is a time of team building and orientation when students reflect deeply about our community guidelines that they help create and maintain. Students are able to practice these skills daily by working in community meetings, class committees, small group projects, and peer teaching activities.
Students have reflection time on a consistent basis. They participate in lessons on learning and studying, habits of mind and being part of a community. Students then have time to reflection in writing on a wide range of topics from academics and brain development to case studies on peer interactions.