Quest Montessori School weaves rich projects and experiences into the academic life of each classroom which are tailored to the needs and characteristics of each age group. Students participate in in-depth studies and presentations of ancient civilizations, delve into works of literature and mythology and create small business ventures to analyze fixed and variable costs, pricing, advertising and marketing.
Narragansett Bay Study
The study progresses from learning about life in the Bay to how the Bay met the fundamental needs of the Pequot tribe. Throughout the year the children take several daily trips to local working farms, bird sanctuary, wildlife preserve and an oyster farm.
New York City Study
The children study the inhabitants of the island of Manhattan from the Lenape Indians through modern day. They look at how each “civilization” met their fundamental needs (food, shelter, defense, transportation, spirituality) and how humans use their heart, hands and minds to improve their environment and standards of living. Each student chooses a fundamental need and corresponding site in New York City to research over a period of several months. In the late Spring, students travel to Manhattan and present their field of study and final paper on the grounds of the site they chose. The 5-day trip is planned entirely by the 6th year students. They are responsible for the money management, daily transportation arrangements and booking of educational activities for this milestone experience. Upon their return to Quest, students put together a multimedia presentation for their fellow students and 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.
Like the Upper Elementary students, the Middle School 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.
Community Service Projects
Central to the Montessori curriculum is the idea of community and community service. The driving force for Middle School has been engagement with the South County food pantry and assistance with their weekly “Community Market” at St. Peter’s by the Sea, in Narragansett. Students dedicate time weekly to assist with unloading donations and deliveries from the RI Food Bank and in setting up the market for families in need. In addition to this weekly commitment, they work with the school PTO to facilitate annual food drives for the pantry.
Middle School students learn the fundamentals of business and economics through the annual Micro-Business, for which they make and implement all business decisions. Currently the students operate “Narrow River Naturals,” which produces scented candles and fruit jams. Their wares are sold at school events as well as local fairs during the holiday season with any profits going toward their International trip. Wednesdays in Middle School are dedicated to enrichment programs including the Micro-Business, Art and Theater. The schedule facilitates the adolescent’s development of self-expression, self-construction and socio-economic independence.