Quest Montessori school weaves rich projects and experiences into the academic life of each classroom, These projects and experiences are related to the curriculum of each classroom and are tailored to the needs and characteristics of each age group. Below are some examples of past experiences the Quest Elementary classrooms wove into their everyday programs.
Lower Elementary (Grades 1-3)
Round the World Café
Lower Elementary engaged in a whole class study of the continents and the different kinds of biomes of the world with their interrelated plants and animals. This culminating project of ecology resulted in a performance to the whole school and parents in the Round the World Café. It was a night of music and songs, costumed performances and readings that incorporated geography, history, science, language, music, and arts in true Montessori form. The students read short stories from around the world and showed pictures that they drew. Some read their own poetry and creative stories about biomes and cultures. Each student researched a country to share with the class and present at the café. Watercolors of plants and animals decorated the event and were sold off to raise money for victims of the earthquake in China.
Timeline Cafe was produced, directed and performed by the students at the end of their study of the Timeline of Life. In addition to putting on a production, students also created portfolios of written reports and artwork for each of the 12 periods of life studies in this segment from Pre-Cambrian to Late Jurassic.
Upper Elementary (Grades 4-6)
Team Building Field Trip
The students began the year by taking a two night, three day field trip to a Nature’s Classroom campus in Connecticut. Nature’s Classroom is a regional outdoor environment education organization with campuses located throughout New England. Students in this age group benefit from team-building experiences with their classmates and teachers early in the school year. This approach is designed to help the students recognize their responsibility in building a safe and trusting environment for academic growth.
After a five week group study segment of Medieval times, the students in Upper Elementary created a small medieval village made from over 26 appliance boxes, donned medieval costumes and invited their families to join them for an evening immersed in Medieval life.
Author’s Corner Cafe’
In the early spring, students presented examples of the written work they had completed throughout the year. On display were poems, hand-made books of person experience stories and descriptive paragraphs. Refreshments were served by the students and each student read from one of their pieces and/or performed a musical instrument to their families.
Quest Upper Elementary and Middle School students hosted a science fair for parents and fellow students. While Upper Elementary students presented individual science experiments, Middle School science fair projects were presented as dramatis personae. This stemmed from Middle School’s earlier studies of the Renaissance and Scientific Revolution. Montessori education emphasizes the development of critical thinking skills. The content of each presentation reflected individual student interests. Students worked for nine weeks in advance of the science fair researching topics, developing questions about their topic, making a hypothesis, gathering the needed materials, deciding upon a procedure to best test their hypothesis, recording results, drawing conclusions, making costumes, and creating a display. Finally, the students prepared scripts and practiced their oral presentations with one another in preparation for the big day.
6th Year Capstone Field Trip
After completing the three year cycle of study in the Upper Elementary classroom, the 6th year students plan every detail of a multi-day field trip to New York City. They are responsible for the money management, daily transportation arrangements and booking of educational activities for this milestone experience. The students undertake individual studies related to the fundamental needs of human in the life of contemporary New York City prior to their trip. These studies could be economics, finance and Wall Street or immigration and its impact on the culture of the city and the United States and Ellis Island. The students present these reports to their classmates while on the trip. Upon their return to Quest the 6th year students put together a multimedia presentation for their fellow students and families.
Middle School (Grades 7-8)
Community Service Projects
Central to the Montessori curriculum is the idea of community and community service. The driving force for Middle School has been our Citizen’s Advocacy Project. The students chose to work on the issue of childhood obesity for their focus. Students interviewed doctors, government and health organization professionals, and conducted research at the local library to gather statistics on this growing problem. After the wrap-up of the science fair project, they launched into the Citizens Advocacy Project. The four-day spring Odyssey trip to Washington, DC was a springboard for the portion of the Advocacy Project which focused on the structure and functions of government as outlined by the Constitution and involved students in debate on the rights and responsibilities of citizens. While in DC, the students were able to interview Senator Jack Reed about what is happening on the national level to address obesity.
Like the upper elementary students, the middle school classroom community benefits from participating in team building driven field trips. Students went on a four night, five day field trip to New Hampshire’s Appalachian Mountain Club at Pinkham Notch. The trust built on this field trip sets the tone for a truly community based academic environment essential to the daily work in the school year.
Students in the middle school program learn the fundamentals of money management and bookkeeping and hosted a Breakfast Bonanza/Cafe three mornings a week as well as organized a weekly pizza lunch program. The students were responsible for taking orders for supplies, set-up and sales as well as for the accounting and record-keeping for both of these programs. Monies raised were determined by the classroom at their weekly community meeting to be split between support for their own field trips, gifts to Quest and charitable contributions to other not-for-profit organizations.
Following a study a study of early civilizations, the middle school students put on a play for the entire school. They were responsible for the costumes, production (sets & costumes), directing and acting in this 40 minute play.