Recent years have seen a growing interest in secondary Montessori education. This has been reflected in the number of participants from secondary schools at the Montessori Europe Congresses.
Secondary education group meeting 24 March 2018
The secondary group met with representatives from three different countries: Norway, The Netherlands and Germany. All in all we were six participants.
We started the meeting with thorough introductions of our different adolescent programmes, depicting our projects, practical work and schedules.
Camilla Miller from the Norwegian Upper Secondary Heltberg School gave us an insight into the university-like structured days of their students and described the challenges of the school working with mostly non-Montessorian students.
Andrea Verwer from the Haags Montessori Lyceum gave us insight into the Dutch Montessori school life.
Reinhard Beyer from the Chemnitz Montessori school presented their annual peace-promoting art-project. The banners produced by the students go on display in public in their hometown and it is also possible for others to book the banners to their town to be displayed there.
Mario Parade and Sebastian Linnardi from Potsdam gave a presentation of how their school integrated farming for their students in their Erdkinder program.
Annika Albrecht from the Montessori Schule Berlin Köpenick presented the current urban compromise and gave a short presentation of their Erdkinder/Youth-school in Strausberg.
All the members of the group were encouraged to submit workshop proposals for the Sofia congress, to encourage European co-operation and the spread of great ideas.
The group worked jointly on the topic ‘The needs of adolescents’ and wants to use the outcome for their upcoming meetings. Moreover, a Montessori Secondary Facebook page was opened both as a meeting place and as a workplace. Everyone interested in joining in is welcome to do so: https://www.facebook.com/groups/233688624039880/
The joint session with the Montessori Express made it clear that we are all interested in exchanging not just ideas, but students and educators as well. The possibility of a Montessori Express bus driving to the Sofia congress, picking up participants along the way, was mentioned.
Meeting at the 2017 congress
A small group met on the starting day of the congress and decided to prepare for the World Cafe the next day, hoping that more people would turn up there. This proved to be the case.
In the preparatory meeting it was decided that the Erdkinderplan would be a useful and practical topic to discuss both in its principles and in the practices used in secondary Montessori schools.
In small groups this was discussed at the World Café. The outcomes from the groups were in some respects very similar:
- It is useful to focus on common denominators between schools.
- It is important to discuss the goals behind the Erdkinderplan, such as practicing life skills and different roles, becoming independent of parents, being dependent on peers.
- Developing exchange and cooperation between a small number of schools could be a good starting point. The cooperation should be non-elitist, on a small scale and with a low threshold
- The cooperation could start from discussing philosophy/aims; then moving to criteria; next step could be collecting good practices and sharing them in presentations (e.g. Ted talks, YouTube). Attention should be paid to sustainable development as part of the curriculum.
The people who showed interest in cooperating will be mailed after the congress with the invitation to join in and prepare a meeting in March 2018.
Michael Rubinstein – email@example.com