What goes after Montessori Elementary? Erdkinder - “Children of the Earth”
In this article we will be exploring what comes after the Elementary program and this conversation will continue in January’s Parent meeting. When Montessori Elementary children finish their Montessori Elementary program, they transition to the third plane of development that Maria Montessori called “Erdkinder”, or “land-children”. We can also call this period “adolescence”. Maria Montessori and her son, Mario, in the text “From Childhood to Adolescence” a rich volume of their observations of the third plane of development are guidelines to best support the needs of adolescents (12-15 yrs) and young adults (15-18 yrs). Today there are more than 500 adolescent Montessori programs around the world and the number is rapidly growing.
Characteristics of the Adolescence
Adolescents overcome a great deal of physical changes during this transition from child to young adult. It is possible to divide the period of physical adolescence roughly into three periods: 1) development of legs – which grow far more quickly than everything else; 2) development of the body, especially the chest – which results in palpitations and diminished pulmonary resistance; 3) development of muscular strength. At this plane their bodies are growing rapidly and not at a uniform rate, and because of such a focus on growth the body is also susceptible to illness. While the legs and trunk develop the heart sometimes cannot keep the pace.
Another manifestation of this period is that the secondary sexual characteristics develop and the endocrine glands operate at a maximum rate.
Abstract thinking - Third plane adolescents explore abstractly and are minimally dependent on figuring things out concretely. Sensorial things are utilized as a trampoline into the abstract.
Concerted exploration of personal potential - They plumb the depths of their individual gifts and powers, seeking to develop them to the fullest.
Intense emotions - Hormonal changes contribute some of these outbursts.
Socially conscious - Service for others is of increased interest.
Hero worship - Attachment to peers, fitting in is an important priority and concern.
Sense of justice and fairness - The third plane child is developing a sense of personal dignity as an individual. This is a period when the innocent words of another may assume massive proportions in the mind of a third plane child, and may have the power to hurt well beyond any extent assumed by the others.
The adolescent desires to find a place in society. It is here that the adolescent begins to conceive of their future career and find their own cosmic tasks within the human family. The third plane adolescent benefits from opportunity to enter into the life of society. A bridge between adolescents and society needs to be constructed so that there is a gradual and successful transition into society.
The adolescent is given the opportunity to interact at a social level within a limited setting (controlled environment with set parameters). This is the Erdkinder, which provides the third plane children a in a “farm like” setting so they may operate a farm and businesses, and explore the path towards economic independence. The children are not sent out to make their individual way in the world, rather, they are involved in the task of collectively and cooperatively making their way in the world, which serves to prepare them for an individual entry into society as the fourth plane unfolds.
This is possible through the adolescents playing and experiencing different roles in different farm and business activities. Participation (in society) is the new mode of operation for third plane children.
Interpersonal relationships become another focus at this time. There is a new interest in people outside their family circle. The adolescents also begin to work cooperatively as a functioning unit within society.
More details will be provided at the Classroom Meeting in January regarding the academic outline of a Montessori Adolescent Program.
Peek inside the classrooms
December has been a month of completion of a cycle of work. The children are completing the process of acclimation and ownership of their space, time and work responsibility and working in groups and pairs to find ones own strength and weaknesses. They now come into the environment knowing what is expected and choose what they will bring to themselves in learning. The new boards, beads, words, and circle time has taken a new expression of their reasoning mind and they are enjoying what is possible to learn. They definitely get that it all begins with a question of inquiry.
We also had a fun time hosting families who came to observe the classroom and learn about what the children are up to. Thank you for participating 100% it makes a difference for the child to know how much they mean to you by you interrupting your schedule to share time with them.
We are all looking forward to participating and sharing what we have learned about the solstice. It has been fun working with the children in the Elementary level and it is always their favorite thing to do is to be with each other: singing, dancing, reciting poetry and a little drama together in community. For the Holiday season of giving the children had fun learning from Ms. Becky about her family tradition of giving and being a part of this years toy drive for the 4,000 children in Penasco, Mexico!!!
Enjoy your precious time with your beloved children!
It has been a fabulous month for us here in the Coyote room as we’re getting ready for the holidays and using this season of giving to emphasis on the importance of community, being grateful for all that we have and, wish the less fortunate for a bright and beautiful future.
Thank you for your donations for the toy drive. The children were excited to be part of this experience and realized how wonderfully blessed they are.
As the gloomy weather crept into the month of December, we were able to look into what is a winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere where the day with the fewest daylight hours, and the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, the day with the most daylight hours. December in the Northern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent to June in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa. In the Northern hemisphere, the beginning of the astronomical winter is traditionally 21 December or the date of the solstice. The children found this new piece of information to be puzzling yet exciting and they were creating skits, poems where they got to perform and sing to their peers.
Thank you all for coming to visit the classroom during our parent conferences. The children enjoyed having you here and giving them an opportunity to show the work they love doing so much.
Thank you for your continuing support .
Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!
Mr. Fernando and Ms. Karina
Dear Falcons Parents,
There was an explosion into poems with some students this months. Students were learning how to rhyme and rap. Rhyming dictionaries were very in demand and there was a line to use them. Another group of students dove into rap songs and tried even compose some music for their texts. The results were interesting poems about winter that students loved to share with each other.
After Ms. Becky’s presentation to the children about the “Toy Drive” that her family accomplishes every year and what impact it brings to the community of poor families in Mexico students were willing to help in any way and we were able to go out and sort the toys for those Mexican children. The students were very excited and worked diligently, like ants in an ant colony, as one organism, the whole time they were there. They even did not want to live and wanted to continue helping.
The last day of the Fall the students celebrated the Winter Solstice by making a skit about what the winter solstice is, recited poems related to the winter solstice, and as the whole school we sang the song “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles. That was an amazing experience of all three classrooms together.
Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!
Mr. Denis & Ms. Rebeca