We are excited to have officially begun working with our new group of seven young people every Tuesday and Friday. Our Teens Hub has been launched to design and create a learning space for young people calibrated to the needs and development of what Montessori termed the ‘third developmental plane’. Rather than supposing that we know everything there is to know about this age group – their time, place, and personal realities – we decided to take the question of ‘what is relevant to you?’ straight to the teens themselves and offer a pioneering group the chance to design the foundations of a new learning place.
Begun as a flexi-program with the aim of going full time in January 2020, the group has begun considering what elements of other successful programmes they would like to include in their own space. We are thinking about a huge range of topics including:
- What sort of spaces inspire us?
- What activities do we enjoy?
- Why is learning easier when we like what we do?
- What responsibilities are we capable of handling and how can we build these into our daily lives?
- What does our immediate community need? How can we help?
- What does the wider Edinburgh community need? How can we help?
- What does humanity need? How can we help?
Montessori regarded teenagers as ‘social newborns’. She saw this stage as a window of opportunity for social learning. Unfortunately, schooling typically considers socialisation as something to do in one’s free time. She theorised that through the chance to partake in real life and real, meaningful work that is relevant and valued by the community, young people can learn successfully through an experiential approach. When they are fully engaged in the ‘what’, ‘why’, and ‘how’ of topics, they are able to gradually discover what Montessori called their ‘noble work’. By this she was referring to their passion.
In opening our programme to young people without prior Montessori experience we aim to extend the insights the approach affords us to tackle some of the challenges of adolescence. Working as mentors and alongside our young people, we hope to find 21st century solutions to becoming and staying engaged with life. Over time we will be interested to find out how far their experiences are paralleled by our Montessori ‘lifers’ coming through the school to the Hub.
*Our Teens Hub is set up through the EMAS Foundation and continues to seek funding to realise its goal of Montessori for all. If you or anyone you know are interested in sponsoring any part of this project through, time, resources or finance, please get in touch.*
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This post was written by Emma