Bay Farm Montessori Academy recently unveiled plans to restructure its Middle School Program and to redesign the current Middle School facility, announcing the building of an innovative, modern learning lab called "The Shop." This flexible space will allow students to generate ideas, choose the appropriate technology or tools, and apply skills to common problems, gaining an appreciation of how their knowledge can make a significant impact on the world.
Jenny Sabados was recently appointed as the Director of The Shop and we had the chance to ask her a few questions about this new facility and the Middle School Program at Bay Farm.
What attracted you to Bay Farm?
The moment you step foot on the Bay Farm campus you feel the presence of a unique respect for knowledge, nature, and community. Each student you meet, from toddler to middle schooler, exudes a sense of independence and self-worth unparalleled in a traditional school setting. There is a perfect balance between playfulness and seriousness in the classroom. The students and teachers have an acute attention to connecting to our world, the people that live in it and how each individual can contribute to the present and future.
Can you give us a better idea of exactly what The Shop is?
The Shop is where Bay Farm students will learn how to bring knowledge to action. It is a creative space designed and dedicated to hands-on creativity and active learning. The Shop will be furnished with all the tools and technology our students need for building, creating and collaborating. There will be permanent and rotating differentiated areas geared toward interests specific to the current students and the current units of study in the classrooms. The Shop is a physical space, how our students learn to use The Shop is the real exciting part!
Bay Farm Montessori students will be learning how to engage both independently and together in iterative thinking, creative thinking, and critical thinking. They will learn how to pivot, how to change, how to revise, how to persevere, how to solve complex problems and think divergently. At Bay Farm, our students will be learning how to navigate the complex maze of the current global, creative and information economies, but more importantly, they will be learning how to be solidly grounded in who they are, understand their strengths and succeed at what they do.
What would you say are the main benefits of a Montessori Middle School education compared to other options out there?
In Middle School, young adolescents are developing a greater capacity for deductive thought and the ability to see below the surface of things. These same cognitive skills, however, can lead to potential loss of self-esteem, self-consciousness and increased capacity for self-evaluation. Young adolescents want to exercise more choice and autonomy in the process of self-definition, and they increasingly look to peer relationships for feedback. A typical middle school environment is ridged and provides fewer opportunities for freedom of choice despite the students’ capacity for more independent thought. Within a Montessori setting, that independence is valued and nurtured.
The Montessori atmosphere creates a positive community that cultivates self-driven success in education and in life. Montessori focuses on the uniting of mind and body while learning, creating an experiential orientation in the classroom where the knowledge that is taught is put to use in doing and application. There is also an attention to the context of experience and celebration of the child’s personal interests, setting the stage for the intrinsically motivated human nature to engage.
When will The Shop open to students?
We are happy to say the Shop will be ready for students September 2020 and in the meantime, we are currently working hard to develop its unique curriculum and its interior designed for true experiential learning for all levels of development.
Bay Farm is currently accepting applications for the 2020-2021 school year and we encourage anyone curious to learn more to reach out! To schedule a tour and to learn more about Bay Farm Montessori Academy, you can email Britta Moran at BrittaM@bfarm.org.
If you are interested to see how the Shop will be utilized within an academic lesson, click here: Nautical Navigation: Calculation of Longitude and Latitude in the 17th Century.