Welcome to Junior High
The Children’s House Junior High is a small-scale, authentic community of Montessori students and adult guides working side by side to explore and conserve Northern Michigan ecosystems. We study and apply our knowledge of Mathematics, Science, Languages, and the Arts as we seek to understand how these systems have shaped, and are shaped by human history and natural forces alike. Through real, meaningful work on the land, in the classroom and throughout the community, students discover and cultivate their resilience, unique talents, and individual contributions.
Treenen Sturman, Junior High Guide
B.A. College of the Atlantic, Maine, Human Ecology
M.S. University of Delaware, Public Horticulture
AMI Montessori Orientation Programme to Adolescent Studies, Cleveland, OH
The Children’s House experience (2014-present):
Elementary Classroom Support
Junior High Classroom Support
Junior High Guide
Kristina Weidenfeller, Junior High Guide
B.A. Michigan State University, Special Education K-12
M.A. Michigan State University, Curriculum and Teaching
The Children's House experience (summer 2009- present):
Elementary summer yoga and nutrition class
Junior High Guide
September 20, 2017
Building a strong foundation
"Only education starts fresh in the ninth month of the calendar year"
The beginning of the school year is an important time. It sets the tone, the expectations, and the culture of the classroom. From social to curricular, and from conceptual to logistical, we have been very busy laying the foundations necessary for an exciting, meaningful, and catalyzing year ahead.
Week 1: The eighth years established themselves as the old guard and warmly welcomed the 7th years to the classroom. Students discussed what community and culture are, how they are built, and how we can contribute. Students examined what it means to be an independent member of a community and the steps necessary to successfully transition from childhood to adulthood. We laid the conceptual foundation we will continue to build upon throughout the year. And then we went out to practice it all…time for logistics!
We started with monitoring invasive aquatic species at Fern Lake with Dr. Jo Latimore through the Cooperative Lake Monitoring Program. The only invasive species we found in the water were ourselves, which is great for Fern Lake. Friday we started the day with Lois Goldstein and John Heiam, who are part of the TC Paddle Club. They gave us a highly detailed and hands-on presentation of paddling safety. Hardly moments later, we were in kayaks on Fern Lake testing out our paddle knowledge and collecting water quality data. Later that same afternoon, students designed research projects in preparation for the Diving Deeper program on the Inland Seas Schoolship. To round out the week, we watched “The Ottaway,” a documentary about the Boardman River Dams Removal project in preparation for our paddle on Wednesday.
Week 2: NOMI experience; time to take the show on the road. Monday started off with birding at Otter Creek. We then launched into a whirlwind exploration of Glen Haven and other points of interest within the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore and ended with stargazing along the shores of the Platte River. Tuesday morning we gave back by helping with brush removal at Miller’s Farm with Ranger Matt Mohrman of the National Park Service. In the afternoon, students boarded Inland Seas and collected data on fish, plankton, benthos, water quality, and microplastics, all of which will be entered into a running database that is accessible online. Wednesday, we paddled the Boardman River from Sabin Dam to the Bay. We talked with a project manager from the Army Corps of Engineers about the Cass Bridge project and the riverbed restoration. Frank Dituri, from the Grand Traverse Band's Natural Resources Department, met us throughout our trip to talk about the dam removal project, past, present and future. Thursday, at the crack of dawn, maybe earlier, we headed up to Beaver Island. John Gordon from Central Michigan University Biological Station met us at the dock and took us to see some of the research being conducted in mesocosm tanks. After lunch, we had an ecological and historical tour of the island, which included searching for, capturing, and identifying snakes. Thursday evening we enjoyed dune climbing and a campfire under the stars. Friday, we headed back to the mainland and were treated to an Earl Young Mushroom House tour by the Charlevoix Historical Society. Students were able to see architecture that mimics nature.
Week 3: Schedules, routines, and structure
We came back to our regular schedule and the beginning of our first workshop. We've gathered data, stories, images, and experiences from multiple places, communities, and systems of all sorts. The students are processing and organizing the information as they prepare to more closely examine their own place, culture, and community- and their place within it.