Why is the farm important for the middle schooler?

Updated: Apr 5

(by Ryan Tucker, Middle School Guide & Curriculum Developer)


Many people are initially confused when they first see a Montessori adolescent program on a farm. Why are the students spending so much time doing work on the farm? Wouldn’t that time be better spent studying the traditional subjects? Is this form of education only applicable to students who want to do manual labor in the future?

These are natural concerns if one is only used to seeing a traditional middle school and high school. However, there are very good reasons why our program of education works and why it is so great to be able to do it on the farm: the academic subjects and farm work go hand-in-hand, as math, science, biology, chemistry, physics, geography, and other subjects are connected to real-life experiences, making these subject areas much more internalized and relatable, than a standard education may provide for this age group. As Montessori said:


Education should therefore include the two forms of work, manual and intellectual, for the same person, and thus make it understood by practical experience that these two kinds complete each other and are equally essential to a civilized existence.

Maria Montessori

- From Childhood to Adolescence


The work that the students will do on the farm plays a major role in their development. Montessori insisted that students at this age work with both their heads as well as their hands. She states:

Education should therefore include the two forms of work, manual and intellectual, for the same person, and thus make it understood by practical experience that these two kinds complete each other and are equally essential to a civilized existence.

- From Childhood to Adolescence


By working with both their heads and their hands, Montessori believed that adolescents would receive a complete education. Through their work, they will come to see that it is an essential part of humanity. Montessori continues:


Now, even laborers need education. They must understand the complex problems of our times, otherwise they are just a pair of hands acting without seeing what relation their work has in the pattern of society. Such as they are today, they may be said to have no head. Meanwhile, the intellectuals of today are all cripples as long as their hands remain useless. Their spirit will dry up if the grandeur of the practical reality of our days is completely shut away from them, as if it did not exist. Men with hands and no head, and men with head and no hands are equally out of place in the modern community.

From Childhood to Adolescence


The farm itself is the prepared environment for the adolescent. It is here that he will work out his place in society and economic independence. He will come to appreciate work for what it is. If the adolescent is to learn about life in the real world, he needs to experience the real world. Working on the farm forces him to develop socially in a way that prepares him for what he will face after he leaves this significant period of life and enters adulthood.


If you are interested in learning more about our new middle school program opening this fall 2022 and how this may be a good fit for your child, please reach out to us at hello@bovinamontessori.com and our middle school guide and curriculum developer, Ryan Tucker at ryan@bovinamontessori.com.

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