You may have read under our Welcome page that we emphasize entrepreneurship as one of our fore core curriculum areas. Still, how does that connect with the Montessori method of learning? Ryan Tucker, our Middle School Guide and Curriculum Developer is happy to share more in this blog post!
Social life is not sitting in a room together or living in a city. It does not regard social relations. The essence is that something is produced which is useful to the whole of society, and is changed for something else. Production and change, exchange, are the essence of social existence. It is a production and exchange which does not only bring in the people living near to one, but those far distant.
Third Oxford Lecture
One aspect that is involved in a Montessori education for adolescents is a focus on entrepreneurship.
As part of the preparation for adult life, the adolescent will learn about the economic realities of the adult world. This is of course done in the educational environment where the risks are minimized, but the adolescents in this program will participate in real production and exchange.
One of the benefits of being on the farm is that our program will have ample opportunities to produce goods that we can then exchange. This is one of the reasons why Montessori believed that the adolescents should be on a farm during this important time of their lives. In From Childhood to Adolescence, she stated:
Therefore work on the land is an introduction both to nature and to civilization and gives a limitless field for scientific and historic studies. If the produce can be used commercially this brings in the fundamental mechanism of society, that of production and exchange, on which economic life is based. This means that there is an opportunity to learn both academically and through actual experience what are the elements of social life.
This program will not just take place on a piece of land that we call a farm, it will actually be a working farm. Animals will be raised, trees will be tapped, gardens will be cultivated, and products will be produced.
In a previous post, I mentioned how these activities will be used in our Occupations studies, to teach the lessons of traditional science in a real and tangible way. While this is true, these products will also be used to demonstrate to the adolescents what their role in a larger economy is. So if for example we decide as a community to look at raising chickens, there are lessons in biology, chemistry, and physics that will be incorporated into learning the necessities for raising and housing chickens. In addition to these lessons though, we will also look to answer questions such as: Do we want to raise chickens for eggs, meat, or both? How much does it cost to raise chickens, and then how much money can we make in selling the products? Where can we sell? How do we market and present our products in the right way? How can we improve our profit? These questions will not be theoretical, they will be real and immediate.
As we grow our community on the farm, we will add to the number of working pieces on the farm. There will be a day, where our student community will be producing and selling meat, eggs, maple syrup, fruits and vegetables, crafts, and other products, as a fully, functioning farm you would see elsewhere. Through this student-led work, our adolescents will gain valuable skills that will help them, as they enter into adulthood, no matter what field they end up pursuing.