The Mountaineer Montessori School adolescent program, serving seventh and eighth year students, combines the best of Montessori practices with current research on adolescent education, with a special emphasis on the unique intellectual, emotional and physical transitions students at this age experience. Our program offers an academically rigorous curriculum with high expectations for each student. Holistic, individualized support enables each student to develop his or her full potential as a future leader and contributing member of society.
Education for life
The program is based upon Dr. Maria Montessori’s vision for a “school of experience in the elements of social life,” emphasizing work that is meaningful, collaborative and adult-like. Her plan for work and study offers adolescents true integration of knowledge and experience as well as opportunities for genuine contribution to their community. The result is intellectual independence, an awareness of human connections and the strengthening of moral character.
Program and curriculum design
The Mountaineer Montessori Middle School, introduced in August 2014, is the only one of its kind in West Virginia. It offers an academically rigorous, project-based curriculum emphasizing STEM, arts, entrepreneurship, environmental stewardship and community service.
The MMS 7th and 8th grade program was developed in partnership with two of the world’s leading Montessori adolescent education consultants: Laurie Ewert-Krocker, the founding head teacher of the Hershey Montessori School Farm School, widely considered the premier Montessori adolescent program in the country, and David Kahn, executive director of the North American Montessori Teachers Association (NAMTA). Their expert advice contributed to site selection and facilities, curriculum design and resource development.
Learn more about the Montessori adolescent curriculum in our prospectus.MMS-Middle-School-Prospectus_1
Why a Montessori Middle School?
The new program was developed in response to an enrollment jump of nearly 50 percent at Mountaineer Montessori School (MMS) in the last two years and increasing requests from the community for alternatives to one-size-fits-all education for students beyond their sixth year.
Research supports the advantages of the Montessori adolescent curriculum, including:
- Higher levels of achievement
- Superior talent development
- Higher levels of interest and intrinsic motivation
The Mountaineer Montessori Middle School is located at Unity of Kanawha Valley, 804 Myrtle at Bridge Road, in Charleston’s South Hills neighborhood. This convenient location provides ready access to the historic Carriage Trail, the lovely Sunrise neighborhood and downtown Charleston.
The Montessori approach extends the curriculum beyond the classroom walls, and students pursue their education throughout our community, state and region.
The MMS Middle School faculty team is led by Suzanne Sanders. Sanders, a graduate of Penn State University, has more than 15 years of experience in authentic Montessori classrooms in Costa Rica, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Charleston. She holds AMS certification in Montessori 6-12 education and trained this summer with educators from around the world at the AMI Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies (ages 12-18) through the North American Montessori Teachers’ Association at Hershey Montessori School’s Huntsburg Farm Campus near Cleveland — the only Montessori adolescent teacher training of its kind offered in North America.
MMS Head of School Dana Gilliland, whose more than 25 years of Montessori experience includes opening a Montessori middle school program in Indonesia, is offering overall guidance for the program. Rachel Scarpelli, a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, is the middle school classroom assistant. Scarpelli is in her second her at MMS. (Learn more about MMS faculty here.)
What do our students say?
Students describe the Mountaineer Montessori Middle School program as “an exciting ride of self-discovery” and “It’s not book, pencil, paper. It’s get your hands on it. Do it. Figure it out.” You learn more in the latest issue of the middle school newsletter and our blog.
Mountaineer Montessori Middle School in the news:
Middle school students cultivating a “culture of cooking” with Thaibilly Kitchen, Charleston Gazette, 3/1/15
Montessori Middle School Students Mapping Carriage Trail, WCHS-TV, Eye on Education, 1/28/15
West Virginia’s Only Montessori Middle School Opens in Charleston, WCHS-TV, Eye on Education, 8/21/14
Students at new Montessori Middle School Shape Curriculum, Charleston Daily Mail, 8/19/14
Montessori Middle School Opens in Charleston this week, WOWK-TV, 8/20/14
State’s Only Montessori Middle School Opens, West Virginia Executive, 8/18/14