Farm School (7th - 9th)
Developmental Spotlight: Real life experience, self-regulation, social-emotional growth
Third plane: Adolescence - Social Independence, Hormones, Puberty, Global Place in the World
The Elementary student’s authentic Montessori experiences facilitates their transition to Farm School. As they grow into the Third Plane of Development, they have the self-assurance, skills, and experience to face the demands of the next level.
Store, Farm, and Community and Kitchen (C&K) Occupations comprise the Farm School; students will spend one year in each Occupation to complete the three year cycle. Each Occupation has three guides, one each for Science, who is also the Occupation guide and stays with the Occupation; and English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics, who stay with students for the entire three-year cycle. Every student has a lesson schedule for the semester that includes math, ELA, history, science, occupation work. Self-expressions are electives that run in six-week cycles and cover a wide range of interests such as Bob Ross painting, outdoor sports, Muggle Studies, D&D, Arduino programming, and croquet. During self-expressions and open work periods, students have the freedom to meet in the Commons or other Occupations for collaborative work. They may also create in the Maker Space, which is stocked with a vast array of woodworking tools, robotics/electronics equipment, art supplies, textiles, and other items for the resourceful and curious student.
A key objective in the Farm School is to prepare students for life beyond the classroom by creating real-life experiences. For example, C&K students help prepare lunch daily for the entire Golden campus, make food for occasions such as Harvest Fest, and set up for events in the Commons. Students in the Farm occupation will care for the chickens, alpacas, and goats; cultivate and harvest vegetables; and card, spin, and needle felt alpaca fibers. Students in the Store occupation spend the year developing a student business, including creating a business plan and logo, doing market research, and acquiring funding from the Microeconomy. Visitors can appreciate how this works at the Farm Stand, which sells vegetables and student-made crafts: C&K sets up the stand, and Store provides staffing and customer service.
Money earned by Farm School businesses goes into the Farm School Microeconomy. The Microeconomy is run by a committee of students with at least one person from each grade from each occupation, so a total of nine students. Money goes into microeconomy from the Store/sales of product and services. Students can present a proposal for funding of their projects/business, which can come in the form of a loan to be repaid, or a grant. Students can also use money earned from their businesses towards other student-run businesses, school trips, and the like.
A typical day at the Farm School echoes the pattern established in the Elementary program. It begins with an Occupation morning meeting, followed by a morning work period which may include lessons. Morning work period ends with a second group meeting. Lunch and recess are combined into a single period that includes all Farm School students; they can choose to eat, play active games, or just hang out with their friends.. Afternoon activities vary by the day, with either self-expressions or a work period, including monthly mental health activities. Like the other levels, the Farm School day ends with a restoration of their environment.