The MWMA Difference

You may have heard about it from your neighbor, seen it on our website, or noticed that feeling when you walked into the lobby. Here at MWMA things are a little different, and for our students that is just what they are looking for.

It’s About Community…

Early adolescence can be a challenging life transition. At MWMA students don’t get lost in the shuffle. Designed to be a close community where relationships with teachers last years, not months, every student is known by multiple adults and activities like Middle School CAMP facilitate connections between peers that last a lifetime. Curriculum is designed to help students discover their own identity, have a say in what their learning community looks like, and explore their place in the larger world. We make every effort to have students working in classes across different grade levels. This allows students to become part of a stronger community. In mixed-age classrooms:

- Students develop a sense of family with their classmates. They become a “family of learners” who support and care for each other.

- Older students have the opportunity to serve as mentors and to take leadership roles.

- Students are more likely to cooperate than compete. The spirit of cooperation and caring makes it possible for students to help each other as individuals, not see each other as competitors.

- Older students model more sophisticated approaches to problem solving, and younger children are able to accomplish tasks they could not do without the assistance of older children. This dynamic increases the older student’s level of independence and competence.

- Students are invited to take charge of their learning by making choices and doing project work. This sense of “ownership” and self-direction is the foundation for lifelong learning.

- Students have almost an extra month of teaching time, because the teacher does not have to spend the early weeks in the school year getting to know each student. Less review of prior instruction is needed before proceeding with new content.

It’s About Finding Your Place in the World…

“Adolescence is the sensitive period for developing feelings of justice and personal dignity. These feelings are the most noble of characteristics and ought to prepare the young adult to become a social being.”

                                                                                                                                                      ~Dr. Maria Montessori

Dr. Montessori did extensive research into the planes of development at each stage of an individual’s life; at each stage, there are “sensitive periods” or times when a person is particularly able to learn and absorb certain characteristics. For students in early adolescence, this is the sensitive period for justice and personal dignity, the perfect time to begin exploring the greater world around them and how they will fit into it as adults. We use the theme of “Finding Your Place in the World” as a cornerstone for the middle school experience. As they study language arts, history, math, science, PE, the cultural arts, etc., we want students to connect to the wide world around them. This theme drives school service projects, field trips, experiential learning, and opportunities for travel to places like Yellowstone, Washington, D.C., and CIMI (Catalina Island Marine Institute) where students have the opportunity to put learning into practice.

It’s About Choice…

It’s YOUR education. At MWMA we think that students should have a say in what it looks like. We work hard to incorporate choice in every class—choices on assignments, how to demonstrate mastery, and challenge assignments. Students at MWMA have the option to create clubs, organize dances and activities, design parts of their own curriculum in the Capstone class, plan enrichment activities, and vote on school programming. Middle school students even have the privilege to petition the school board to change the dress code.

Our Capstone class is designed to embrace a wide variety of research and learning experiences focused on creating autodidactic learners. A full year of in-depth study activities get students learning by interacting with a wide variety of resources, conducting experiments, researching, reflecting, observing experts in their field, service learning, collecting and analyzing data, and creating something with their newfound knowledge.

It’s About Making a Difference…

A lot happens in those three middle school years. Students grow and change in ways both beautiful and profound. It can be a little intimidating. We want to help students embrace change by talking an active role in making the world around them a better place to be. It is an amazing way to empower students for the growth they have ahead. Individual, class, and school wide service projects help students embrace change and make meaningful connections to the world around them. It helps them to be the difference.

Want to know more? Drop by, schedule a tour, enroll today–come and be a part of the MWMA difference.