teacher playing musical instrument

“There is a solid foundation in confidence, character, empowerment and autonomy.”

Middle School: Grades 7–8

Oak Meadow Middle School students are ready (both developmentally and foundationally) for a robust interdisciplinary school experience that will challenge them intellectually, socially and emotionally. They continue to advance their understanding of and confidence in their responsibility within the school community and beyond, and take on increasingly sophisticated roles that require self-reflection, self-expression, teamwork, effective communication and critical thinking. Working in multi-age groups, students take advantage of opportunities for in-depth study and exploration of individual interests, knowing that every student’s strengths will be celebrated. As they progress through their Middle School years, students develop a strong sense of self and a deep understanding that they are well-prepared for whatever comes next—in school and in life.

Prior attendance at a Montessori school is not a prerequisite for admission.

An important part of the curriculum gives Middle School students the opportunity to practice real-life challenges as they run programs that call upon businesses skills such as collaboration, planning, budgeting, banking and customer service.

Explore the Middle School Program curriculum below.

Math

The Middle School math curriculum includes pre-algebra, algebra I, and geometry. High school level work is available to eighth grade students who are ready. Oak Meadow’s small class sizes allows for the teacher to work with individual students or small groups. Rather than presenting formulas to memorize, our students learn to develop and test conjectures by observing patterns and seeking an understanding of how mathematical rules are derived. Students then hypothesize concepts based on repetitive models and derive formulas on their own. Through this process of discovery, students truly understand the meaning and application of a formula. A strong emphasis is also placed on the understanding of graphs and the behavior of linear, quadratic, and exponential functions. Graphing calculators and other technologies are used to enhance understanding of graphs of different functions and for statistical analysis. Students also have many opportunities to work on projects that encourage them to apply these developing skills. During this time, students continuously reflect on their learning through journaling and other activities in order to synthesize the material, so it is meaningful to them.

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) labs are co-taught with the Middle School science teacher to connect math with scientific concepts. Through collaborating and strategizing with their classmates, students build confidence and reinforce their knowledge of math.

Science

The Middle School science curriculum is a two-year program that focuses on both process and content under the umbrella of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math). Students learn to navigate the scientific method, apply mathematics to their investigations, research and present on scientific topics, organize data and write formal lab reports. One year of the cycle focuses on life science, earth science, human health and biology; the other focuses on physics, chemistry, and astronomy. Students meet every day for interactive discussion, conduct experiments and perform engage in activities around a variety of curriculum. All students participate in the annual Oak Meadow Science Fair, and they can continue on to the Massachusetts Regional Science Fair and State Science Technology Engineering and Math Fairs.

Humanities

The Middle School humanities curriculum is an interdisciplinary exploration of history, English, literature, philosophy, geography and grammar. Students are exposed to classical literature and philosophies, both western and non-western, with the intent that students will develop knowledge-based integrity that will guide them throughout their lives. They develop an appreciation for the richness of cultures from other places in the world and other times in history, and learn to recognize common universal principles. Students work toward improving reading for comprehension and writing with literary skill. An ongoing emphasis on grammar drives progress. Interactive discussion and verbal debate are integral parts of the humanities curriculum.

Spanish

In the Middle School, Spanish classes meet daily. A weekly syllabus outlines the material to be covered, assignments and a reference for vocabulary and grammar structures that will be taught. The syllabus provides structure as students develop their organizational skills. Verb tenses for regular, irregular, and stem-changing verbs include the present, imperfect, preterite, present progressive and future. Students learn reflexive verbs and the formal and informal forms of the imperative. Emphasis is placed on fluency, and classes are conducted largely in Spanish. Students expand their understanding of the language through listening exercises and practice their speaking skills through collaborative projects, role-playing, phone conversations, interviews, buying and selling and travel situations. Regular entries into their journals and other assignments develop their writing abilities. Cultural exploration into the Spanish-speaking world may include the study of historical figures and events, classic and contemporary literature, art and architecture, music and current events, geography and ethnic identity. Students cook traditional recipes, listen to authentic folk music, and learn about regional dances and celebrations.

Social and Emotional Learning

Social and emotional learning includes self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, responsible decision-making and relationship skills. The development of these skills helps to promote positive social interaction and conflict resolution. Small group sessions facilitate group work and promote relationship skill development.

Nature-Based Learning

Middle School students begin each year with substantial community service initiatives – preparing and taking ownership of their school environment by cleaning, organizing, beautifying and making restorations toward a clean and organized work space. Within this work, students get practical life experience operating and handling tools safely. Students learn primitive living skills by harvesting our school community gardens to prepare meals and by discovering alternative uses for objects found in nature. Visiting local conservation areas, Middle School students explore and learn to journal, create deep maps and interpret tracks and signage.

Art

Middle School students attend art classes once a week. Students continue to develop a deep understanding of materials and processes in order to independently pursue projects according to their own interests, as well as achieve competency while working on collaborative projects. Awareness of art history and art as an expression of culture remains a focus at this level. Several interdisciplinary projects are managed in collaboration with math, science and humanities curriculum. Art and technology are also explored as a combined approach to problem-solving.

Music

Middle School students participate in an electives curriculum, choosing two music courses per year taught intensively in double-block periods. Elective choices vary each year, depending upon student interest, and can include Musical Theater Scenes Workshop, Music Instrument Building, Music Technology and Composition, Group Guitar and Keyboard Classes, and Oakapellas, the school’s long-standing a cappella vocal ensemble.

In addition to weekly classes, Middle School students have various musical options both before and after school, including concert band, a musical theater production, and lessons in vocal performance and a wide variety of instruments.

Drama

Middle School students can take an intensive double-block drama class for half the school year. The curriculum combines acting training, improvisational theater exercises and opportunities to gain experience in theater tech areas like props, scenery and costuming. Each term culminates in the production of a full-scale play. Selections range from historical classics like Shakespeare and Commedia dell’Arte, to modern 21st-century repertoire, including an emphasis on works by female playwrights. In addition, drama students stage Reader’s Theater performances based on well-known picture books for the school’s younger grades. The variety gives students added opportunities each year to tackle more than one role and thereby expand their range as actors.

Middle school students have an opportunity to participate in an optional after school, full-scale musical theater production, with Lower and Upper Elementary students. Recent shows have included Frozen, Seussical, Peter Pan, Madagascar, Alice in Wonderland, Charlotte’s Web, and The Aristocats.

Physical Education

Movement and developing a healthy lifestyle are at the heart of our program. Middle School students attend physical education classes by grade twice a week for ninety minutes. The main focus is placed on building a greater self-image and increasing self-confidence by setting attainable goals and working individually and as a group to achieve them. Muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and cardio-respiratory endurance are important factors for lifelong health and well-being. These factors are improved upon during team sports, cooperative games, and individual challenges. Middle School students also attend health and wellness classes led by Oak Meadow’s physical education and science faculty.

Experiential Learning

At the beginning of each school year, Middle School students are given unique opportunities for leadership and community building, with a week-long venture to an outdoor educational facility in western Massachusetts or Maine. Additionally, every academic year culminates with one of two trips that brings curricular themes and concepts to life. In alternate years, students participate as delegates to the Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) in New York City or in a five-day trip to another location, such as Washington, D.C. These focused travel experiences give added significance to learning, while giving students the chance to put new skills into practice.

Practical Life

Practical life experiences are a key component of the Middle School program. Our students operate businesses which allow them to develop numerous entrepreneurial skills. Students write business plans, market the enterprise to the school community and run all aspects of the business with the guidance of adults. Businesses have included a school store, staff luncheons, coffee sales and pizza sales. Proceeds from these endeavors enable students to research entrepreneurs in developing countries and provide micro-loans through KIVA.org. Within our Montessori community, students learn to care for their environment. They begin each year preparing and taking ownership of their environment by organizing, beautifying and making small repairs.  Within this work, they handle tools while learning safety and practical life skills. Students also participate in community service programs such as Gaining Ground in Concord, MA.