Good Old Fashioned Crazy Ideas

As parents and educators of Montessori children, we have identified a gap in the options for kids coming out of Upper Elementary programs. For grades 7 and 8, there seem to be two options: traditional private schools or transfer into the public system. We are helping the children prepare for their SSATs so they may keep their options open. We began to wonder, however, if there was a third option: one that continues to nurture their huge curiosity of the world and speaks to their burgeoning sense of social justice. Could we place Maria Montessori’s idea of the Erdkinder farm in the modern, urban context of downtown Toronto? Beginning in September, 2019, Orchard will offer a 7/8 program that will draw influence from apprenticeship guilds, traditional Montessori erdkinders and directed study abroad.

Montessori believed that children of this age were not quite ready to work within an adult world system that traditional schools promoted. Instead, she advocated for a more Socratic methodology where children were engaged in an active dialogue about the material they study, filled with immersive experiences and one in which the results were measured by gratification and natural outcome rather than answers on a test paper. Now, more than ever before, our world is rushing toward predetermined outcomes, with little time left for deep contemplation. We’d like to provide a protected space for exploration during this formative period in a child’s life.

Elementary parents are invited to join Holly and Melody to hear about it from 5-6pm on Wednesday, October 17th.

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