Beechworth Secondary College Montessori Adolescent Program (MAP)

Beechworth Secondary College is delighted to provide the Montessori Adolescent Program as an exciting education alternative for our community. The M.A.P. runs alongside the mainstream program at the College and is an opt-in program. A beautiful, specially renovated facility functions as an “adolescent house” and enables the program to be delivered in a truly authentic manner. Students are also creating a wonderful agricultural space that includes plans for a productive permaculture garden, wicking beds, hugelkulture gardens and chickens. You will quickly see that the work is always ongoing, real and valuable.

Students in MAP are involved in real work that connects the head and the hands. They study civilisation through its origins in agriculture, they form a real community and engage with the wider local communities regularly, they manage small businesses where sale of produce and products bring in the fundamental mechanics of society, production and exchange, on which economic life is based. MAP has a strong environmental and sustainability ethos and students regularly escape to the great outdoors as their classroom. The syllabus includes Self Expression (creative and physical), Maths, Language Arts (English and a foreign language), Occupations (Science and real work), Humanities (History, Geography, Economics) and Micro-Economy. The areas of study often overlap and integrate with each in the way real life blurs the boundaries between disciplines.

MAP students are given plenty of scope to develop their independence and to take responsibility for their own education, with careful guidance from the qualified and skilled teaching team. Students set their own learn goals and are encouraged to follow their passions wherever feasible. As students are completely individual, structures are in place to provide the necessary support on an individual basis. Some students require a lot of structure and routine, some thrive on being given more freedom, flexibility and responsibility for self-direction.
Learning Approach in M.A.P.
Adolescence marks the beginning of transition from childhood to adulthood, and this is a challenging process of physical and mental maturation. Physically, this is a time of rapid change and intellectually this is an age of great social development. It is a time when the adolescent seeks to find their place in their society, and understand what their contribution to this might be. It is also a time of critical thinking, re-evaluation and of self-reflection. The M.A.P. recognises these special characteristics of adolescence, and is designed to assist children in their development and finding their unique place in the world as adults.

The Montessori adolescent course of study is flexible, innovative and highly responsive to individual needs. It includes interdisciplinary themes, study skills and strategies, mastery, peer coaching and exploratory activities that take place as individual, small-group, and whole-group learning experiences.

The M.A.P. at BSC offers an exciting opportunity for adolescents to learn in an environment that provides real life experiences that brings the curriculum to life. The program, nurtures the development of the adolescent by providing:-

• A place where adolescents can work and study and develop a sense of belonging.
• An environment that nurtures independence, personal dignity and social justice.
• A holistic method of education that fosters an optimal engagement in work and study.
• A life of activity & variety at school that facilitates economic independence, community service and personal expression. Students independently design and run their own social enterprises/businesses.
• Practical tasks, manual occupations & intellectual work so that the student is able to work with both their head and their hands.
• A daily schedule that gives the student time to deeply explore each subject of the curriculum as well as time for reflection and discussion.
• Confident and peaceful adults who mentor the adolescent, who genuinely value and respect the adolescent and who model the grace and courtesy expected of them.
• The Montessori National Curriculum (as approved by ACARA), the Australian National Curriculum and the Victorian Curriculum are used to guide the program of intellectual studies.

The M.A.P. Curriculum
Across the curriculum, real work that meets the adolescent need for social interaction is coupled with activities that foster independence. Some of these elemental studies include a micro-economy (running a business or social enterprise), responsibility for the built and natural environments, expanded definition of physical education to include health, outdoor ed, yoga, dance, participation in team and individual sports as well as learning based in the care and respect of one’s self and activities of practical life.

Science and maths are the foundation for discovery and invention, so competence and conceptual understanding of these subjects is necessary to express one’s self in society and adult work. While we can consider the whole world a living laboratory, M.A.P. students also utilise the well-equipped science laboratories for some of their practical experimentation work. Laboratory work often finds inspiration from the work students do in the Occupations area.

Language Arts (English) is also vital for literacy in the adult world and studies in this field are both explicitly taught through lessons and workshops, as well as being embedded naturally in other areas of study. Students are invited to extend their language studies in an area of choice – currently this includes French.

Self-expression is vital for the adolescent, both physical and creative. Many opportunities are created for students to develop specific skills in areas of interest and to apply these to any area. Students are free to create, to express their work and themselves as individuals in this nurturing and respectful environment.

Studies in Humanities traverse diverse areas including history, geography, economic and sustainability. Work is bought to life by connecting the student to real experiences, by unravelling the inter-connectedness of human endeavour and through use of learning strategies such as Dramatis Persona and seminars.

The Montessori Adolescent Program is designed to be a real life experience of building community. Activities in academics and in the classroom environment call upon the adolescent’s need to see that academics have a purpose. They work toward, and actively participate in, group endeavours that benefit both the whole school community and the people in it. The Micro-Economy is elemental in achieving this, where students take charge of their own enterprises from start to finish.

The end result is that the adolescents become deeply invested in what they do whether it is academic projects, day to day tasks and events in their school community, or the opportunities for outreach that take them from the classroom. All of these experiences help them to direct their developing skills toward a wider society where they feel they are valued and can make a worthwhile contribution. These experiences foster care for themselves as people, care for others, and care for the environment.

M.A.P. Enrolments
Application to be part of the M.A.P. is open to all students. A Montessori background is not essential, however families must be prepared to support the application of the philosophy. Entry is subject to an interview with specific selection criteria to be addressed. Placement will only be confirmed after an observation and interview are completed. We accept enrolments into the M.A.P. from students who are currently in Cycle 3/Year 6 as well as those in Year 7 and Year 8. Places are limited in the program and final decision is at the discretion of the Principal.

Because of the nature of the program, and the associated costs for this optional program beyond a mainstream school program, this is a fee paying program.
The program fees are being reviewed at present.

This has previously covered the wage of the MAP Assistant, resources, community lunches and subsidised the cost of camps and excursions for Map students.
Families must also complete a standard enrolment with the College as they are students of Beechworth Secondary College.

The participating students wear the same uniform as other students and are subject to all normal College-wide rules.
There are many opportunities to mix with the wider school, across year levels. M.A.P. students participate with mainstream students in all year level activities and whole school activities such as sports days, camps, productions, student well-being programs.

M.A.P. Staffing
A fully qualified Montessori adolescent practitioner leads the program and is supported by a team of highly committed, well-qualified staff. Currently we employ an assistant in the program which allows us to offer great support and flexibility for our students. Beechworth Secondary College specialist teaching staff and professional experts from the local community are also available to support students in their important work.

More Information
Please contact the school office for a registration of interest form for MAP and the Beechworth SC enrolment pack. 03 5728 1264  Applications must be made directly to the school office, not through MSEC.
Montessori Adolescent Program Facebook page
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