Is the Montessori model different in middle school than in elementary school? What’s the
benefit of a Montessori middle school over a different curriculum?
The premises for Montessori are as true for middle school students as they are for younger
children. Some key points about the Montessori model for this age group include:
- Each student is valued as a unique individual. We believe students learn in a variety of different ways and environments so we allow students to work at their own pace and we provide students with a variety of learning opportunities including in-depth and extended outside the classroom experiences.
- Students are part of a caring community. This is particularly important during the challenging developmental time of middle school. The small close knit community also allows your student to be known in depth by their teachers. Your student cannot fall through the cracks.
- Montessori education is holistic. At Wilson, we are concerned with educating the whole child and supporting academic, social and character development.
I’m concerned that my child won’t have the same opportunities at Wilson in terms of extracurricular activities and ancillaries. What types of opportunities does Wilson offer?
It is true that, because of its size, Wilson cannot offer the same number and types of extracurricular activities that are available at larger schools. However, some opportunities, such as sports, can be pursued through a child’s zoned school. Students are also welcome to help develop extracurricular activities which they would like to have added at Wilson as well as participate in Wilson’s community garden program, Urban Harvest, and the school’s “Name that Book” program. For electives, students have a number of choices. This year students had options to participate in year book, speech, sign language, computer, and creative writing.
What’s the benefit of my child attending a PreK – 8 school?
Pre-K 8 schools allow for smaller environments in which adolescents can navigate and grow. Studies show that students at K-8th grade schools have higher test scores, experience smaller class sizes, and have fewer discipline problems.
How will Wilson Middle School academically and socially prepare my child for high school?
Studies also show that students who complete their middle school years in a K-8/PK-8 school have no academic ground lost in the middle school years in comparison to their peers who leave to
attend a 6th-8th middle school program. In fact, the earlier the students leave the K-8 program, the more academic ground they lose. We also work closely with students to begin identifying long
term life and career goals. This includes time spent on considering and applying to high school. The teachers work one on one with students helping them identify and apply to local high schools. They also help students identify long term life and career goals and discuss future college attendance.
How academically rigorous is the middle school? How important is academics in middle school?
Maria Montessori felt that because of the physical changes occurring in early adolescence including rapid growth, the need for increased sleep, and hormonal changes, intellectual work needs to be balanced with other areas of development. Students are given the opportunity to grow academically while being encouraged to approach school (and life) in a balanced way. Students are challenged in intellectual, social, physical and emotional areas every day. The academics in middle school are challenging and rigorous but not rigid; each student is guided to find their best way of learning so they enter high school prepared to meet all challenges head on.
How much homework will my child have in middle school?
Students in Wilson Middle School complete the same amount of work and learning as their peers in traditional 7th - 8th grade programs do but since the majority of work and learning is completed at school the amount of work and learning at home (homework) is significantly less.
What are the unique opportunities available at the school?
As part of the middle school’s curriculum students attend day and overnight field experiences such as a beginning of the year ROPES course, an evening trip to the theater and a four day trip to Blackwood Land Lab. Students also complete a classroom and business internship and have one-on-one high school placement counseling.
How many teachers are employed in the middle school?
Currently the middle school has one full-time teacher and one full-time teacher’s aide. Also involved with the students are several ancillary teachers including a sign language instructor, PE teacher, computer teacher and creative writing teacher. As the middle school grows, a second full-time teacher will be added.
If my child is enrolled in the elementary school at Wilson, do I need to apply to the middle school? If so, in what year?
Yes, you will submit a magnet application for your child to attend middle school as a sixth grader for seventh grade. An application has to be on file to transfer your magnet status from elementary to middle school. However, traditionally, we have not needed to complete a lottery process for selection. We have had space available for all qualified Wilson applicants moving up from 6th grade.
If my child is enrolled at another HISD public Montessori or a private Montessori program, do I need to apply to the middle school? What’s the process?
You will need to submit a magnet application for your child to attend middle school as a sixth grader for seventh grade. Students whose applications are received in the first round (January Magnet deadline) have the highest probability of being placed in the class.