Middle School Pedagogy

MSR provides a truly complete course of study that integrates real-life learning into every subject area and every subject area into real-life learning.

Visit our Brier Creek campus and you might see a group of students energetically planning an educational excursion to Prague (researching, budgeting, mapping, and scheduling the trip entirely on their own) or working together in the field, collecting data on habitat conditions for the Eastern Blue Bird.

Where are their teachers? Not standing before them, telling them what to do next. Instead, they’re actively engaged beside them, providing the tools, strategies, and support they need to structure and direct their own learning. Your student’s English teacher gives him a copy of Kafka’s Metamorphosis and says, “I think you’ll really love this, and it might give you some good ideas for your Prague trip itinerary. Let’s talk after you’ve read it.” And his Humanities teacher, seeing the book he’s reading, suggests that he think about how it fits into the different eras in the city’s history — Holy Roman Empire to Soviet Union to the rise of nationalism and the modern Czech Republic. And asks, “Why do you think it’s originally written in German?”

Meanwhile, your student’s algebra teacher, who knows that she’s working on a project to build new birdhouses for the Eastern Blue Bird trail on campus, introduces new math concepts through a series of scenarios that help the students calculate the loss of habitat, the number of birdhouses needed to have an impact on the bird population, the ideal locations, heights, and distances between them, and so on.

At the core of this Montessori approach to pedagogy, known as “student-directed learning,” is the belief that your student is an interpreter, constructor, and creator of knowledge, not merely a recipient. And the most memorable and meaningful learning happens when your student (and her questions, interests, and experiences) are at the center of a rigorous, interdisciplinary curriculum. This kind of teaching requires the most masterful, most prepared, most actively engaged teachers.

Trained in our time-tested Montessori approach, MSR’s expert teachers plan lessons that implicitly demand students acquire and apply the necessary knowledge and skillsets at every level, and then supportively challenge your student toward deeper inquiry, genuine engagement, and constant skill-building.

Even as this approach builds adult-like independence in our middle schoolers, it also keeps alight the child-like imagination and wonder-filled energy of childhood, ensuring that your student learns to fuel (rather than replace) her personal fascinations with ever more focused, vigorous, and disciplined study.