By now, you should have heard that The Grove School earned the honor to host the North American Montessori Teacher Association’s (NAMTA) Orientation to Adolescent Studies five week teacher training course this summer. For the past fifteen years, the Hershey Farm School outside of Cleveland, Ohio was the only school to host this special Montessori teacher-training course. NAMTA choice to include Grove as one of two new locations to host the course in the United States is a recognition of Grove’s development and potential to be a model for educating adolescents.
What is the “Orientation”?
NAMTA calls the course an “orientation” because it orients the participant to work with adolescents and create learning environments that engage them in learning about the world, others, and themselves.
In the Orientation, participants learn about Montessori theory, developmental needs and tendencies of children and adolescents, and how to create optimal learning environments. Then the participants write unit and lesson plans based on Montessori principles, determine resources for students, and connect their content to the plan for the whole school. Experienced Montessori teachers are the advisors for the Orientation and will evaluate the plans and give feedback. The participants will use these
plans as examples, as they continue to write Montessori lessons and develop their own teaching practice through this new lens.
What is impact?
The impact on an individual teacher and their practice is best explained through the words of a few of the Grove faculty who completed the Orientation:
“It helped me move beyond traditional teaching to create a learning environment that serves the students as unique and valuable individuals, so they are interested and engaged in learning.” – Melanie Knypstra, Class of 2011
“The Orientation gave me the language, the lessons, the rational and supporting data to change my whole mindset, and make my educational environment more experiential. It was a life-changing experience and is necessary for anyone wanting to teach in a Montessori adolescent environment.” – Beth Elliott, Class of 2007
“For each age group, I learned better where their minds focus naturally, and that changed my teaching because it helped me tailor my lessons to the natural needs and tendencies of each age group.” – Amy Nottingham, Class of 2015
Currently, Grove teachers who are yet to complete the Orientation are good teachers, using methods learned in conventional teacher training. However, Grove’s mission is to have a whole Montessori learning environment for adolescents and it cannot achieve that goal without having Montessori trained teachers to work as a team to create them.
When all of the teachers at Grove complete the Orientation, the school will improve dramatically and be an environment better attuned to the needs of the developing adolescent because teachers will:
For students, they will experience more:
These will result in:
Sending at least six teachers to the NAMTA Orientation would more than double the number of Montessori trained teachers at Grove. This would be a major accomplishment and achieve the top priority for the school, as stated by the board and parents for the past four years. I hope you will join me in support of this incredible opportunity!