Compass Montessori Junior High Curriculum
History, science, literature, mathematics, the arts, and language weave together to provide students with an authentic understanding of the complex world they will occupy and contribute to as independent-thinking citizens of our planet. In pursuit of authentic understanding, students experience firsthand a diversity of perspectives and cultures, as they explore professions and occupations that comprise many sectors of society such as government, business, nonprofit, social service, and environmental organizations.
Students have regular excursions throughout Traverse City, the woods, meadows, wetlands, and waterways of Northwest Lower Michigan. Multi-day trips and day-long field excursions take students throughout Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Extended trips explore Southeast Michigan, Chicago, Philadelphia, South Florida, Washington D.C., Atlanta, GA, and Birmingham and Montgomery, AL. History is explored where it happened. Science is experienced hands-on and in context. All learning is aided, interpreted, and made meaningful through the arts, mathematics, and the written and spoken word. Students are encouraged and empowered to examine, interpret, and share what they are learning with support from teachers, mentors, and professionals.
Workshops follow the three-period lesson structure. First, the introduction of the topic often happens during a field trip, interactive presentation, or immersive activity. Once engaged in the topic, the second period empowers students to choose a focus and dive as deeply into their research as their curiosity and imaginations take them. During the third period, students share the results of their investigations. Throughout the workshop, adults provide support and guidance.
The Timbers Recreation Area
Compass Junior High students are stewards of the Timbers Recreation Area. They frequent this “Land Lab” every spring and autumn to collect and study water samples, map old-growth forests, write poetry, interview elders, identify plants and animals, and likely catch frogs and get soaking wet!
Before European colonization, the Anishinaabe used the land for hunting, fishing, and trapping, as well as a transportation corridor to and from Lake Mishigami. At the turn of the 19th century, Chicago’s meat magnate J. Ogden Armour built a sprawling estate, which became the Timbers Girl Scout Camp in the 1960s. Now part of the Long Lake Township park system, the 250-acre Timbers Recreation Area with its two inland ponds, old growth and early succession forests, abandoned farm fields, 2,000 feet of Long Lake shoreline, and numerous wetland areas make for the ideal living laboratory for studying both human and natural history.