PERSONAL GROWTH self-awareness

No longer children but not yet adults, adolescence as a time of rapid growth, not unlike the toddler years, but with entirely different educational and social-emotional needs than those of the previous Elementary stage. They're searching for their place in the world and figuring out the answer to life-defining questions like “Who am I going to be?” “What’s my purpose?” and “What’s my role in this big world?” Embracing Montessori's principle of following the child, the Middle School program is intentionally designed to include a balance of meaningful academics and supported, self-directed personal growth. Each student gets the guidance, feedback, and time for self-reflection they need to stay grounded so they can examine and form the values that will shape their identity and ultimately, their lives.


During these critical years, when your child is in the process of transformation from child to teen, the climate of their immediate peer community and learning environment have a significant influence on their emerging self-awareness and self-perception while affirming their identity. They are shown how to turn their focus inward and identify how their actions, thoughts, or emotions do or don't align with their internal standards. Students learn that to be self-aware, they need to be able to objectively self-evaluate, manage their emotions, align behavior with their values, and accurately understand how others perceive them.


Lamplighter advocates that it is best to prepare, rather than desensitive, each child to the complexities of the teen years. Imagine the gift you will give your child by providing them the opportunity to build a more authentic, stronger version of themselves that can confidently navigate the challenging decisions they will most likely encounter in high school.


During this stage of rapid change, your child needs a safe environment where they can take the armor off and are free to be themselves. Your child will thrive if they can be open and authentic with peers they trust and respect, free from bullying and constant status-seeking. Rather than succumb to peer pressure, hide behind a public persona, or slip through a large middle school largely unnoticed, your child is wholly seen as a person who adds value to the community. In the smaller environment at Lamplighter, your child benefits from friendships with peers who may be quite different (instead of sorting themselves into cliques with similar interests and pressure to conform). At an age characterized by "following the herd," our middle schoolers learn to assert their independence, follow their inner voice, and make healthy, informed decisions. 

They take turns chairing morning community meetings and then, later in the day, operating as a team during group reflection time where peers exchange honest feedback in the security of a trusted peer group.


VALUE-ADDED experiences

The Montessori approach continuously asks your child to consider their choices and self-navigate their behavior. During these transformative years, a healthy questioning of the status quo emerges and can lead to a sense of self-worth, competence, and betterment of the world, provided it is nurtured constructively. We ask your child to figure out how they can apply their creativity and goodwill to solving problems they have identified. Montessori believed in allowing adolescents to experience self-worth through real and vital work—a process she called valorization. The teacher channels your child's attention to social justice issues into actionable tasks, so they gain confidence in their ability to make a direct contribution to society. The practice of service-learning is introduced through volunteer opportunities within the school and out in the world, fulfilling your child's inner drive to add value. By learning to advocate for their interests, goals, and ideas, they come to know their power and appreciate others' abilities. Ultimately, the program supports your child in finding a place in the community and becoming a respectful, responsible, and ethical contributor to society.

STAYING grounded

The teenage years are like being on a roller coaster. And they can't be properly supported them if everyone is on the ride with them. Meaning, it more important than ever to be a stable force in their life. The Montessori Middle School teacher spends a lot of time training to be in tune with their inner self to be able to withstand the clever testing of the middle school mind. They are paying close attention and will call you on everything that is not consistent. The character of the teacher will be scrutinized for authenticity and virtue. This pivotal period of their lives influences the trajectory of their development. The middle school teacher places as much importance on being a positive and trusted role model as they do on sparking curiousity and academic discovery. 


The sophisticated work we do at Lamplighter prepares your child to transition to the high school of your choice confidently. Our alumni report their Lamplighter education greatly contributed to a life-long love of learning, creativity, character, critical thinking, inclusivity, and diversity. It makes a difference when you invest in the development of the whole person. You reap the dividends of 21st-century skills, creativity, leadership, collaboration, citizenship, and cognitive excellence. Pretty soon, your child will be called upon to make increasingly responsible decisions as an emerging adult. At Lamplighter we help prepare them by empowering them to take even more ownership for their daily experience. Like a junior CEO of their life, your child will direct their day-to-day business affairs, as well as reliably manage their time across a six-week syllabus. They learn the art of collaboration, strategize with peers, and practice good citizenship.

 “An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking: it involves the spiritual development of man, the enhancement of his value as an individual, and the preparation of young people to understand the times in which they live.” —Maria Montessori, Education and Peace