Adolescence is a time of great change for children as they move from childhood toward their teenage years. Sometimes adolescents are very independent, mature and seem older than their age. At other times the same person can behave much younger than their years. Montessori curriculum and methods support this variability in growth and independence with individualized instruction, a flexible learning pace, emphasis on both academic and social development, and time and resources for students to pursue their unique academic interests.

The Middle School Learning Community’s three year age grouping from grades 7 to 9, allows girls the opportunity to Reach Ahead and take Ontario Secondary credits in grade 8. It provides an supportive, safe environment for students in grade nine. Instead of being new students in a big school, they are leaders in a community that they have been in for two years. For the younger girls in grades 7 and 8, being able to see the older girls work on credit courses prepares them for the transition to more independent learning and for studying for final exams.

Grade 9 Ontario Secondary Academic courses such as math, English, science, geography, and French are offered as two half courses allowing students to master the curriculum in smaller chunks, and transition to writing final exams for year long courses in Senior School. Over 50% of the science and geography curriculum, as well as some of the math and English curriculum are taught in enriched, and engaging hands-on overnight OE3 trips and POGO (Project Or Going Out) weeks and days.

OSSD: Ontario Secondary School Diploma

Odyssey Heights offers Ontario credit courses at both the Academic and Open levels for girls in grade 9. Courses in the core academic subjects including Math, English, French, Science, and Canadian Geography, are offered as two, 55 hour half-credits, providing a smoother and kinder transition to high school and final exams.  In grade 9 girls take: 

  • SNC1D Parts 1 and 2: Grade 9 Academic Science
  • MPM1D Parts 1 and 2: Grade 9 Academic Math
  • ENG1D Parts 1 and 2: Grade 9 Academic English
  • FSG1D Parts 1 and 2: Grade 9 Academic French, or Parts 1 and 2: Grade 9 Open French (for students with little to no French background)
  • PE: Personal Fitness Activities and Health, Outdoor Activities and Health, 
  • Choose 2 arts courses to take for credit. Note that students still participate in all activities as part of the Montessori Secondary I curriculum. They will not have to write final exams, instead the piece(s) of creative work produced for the winter and spring showcases will serve as 100% of their culminating assignment. 
    • Performing & Visual Arts: Dance, Integrated Arts Part I or Part II, Expressing Aboriginal Cultures Part I or Part II, 
  • Technology: Exploring Technologies Part 1 or Part 2, (Part 2 if they took Part 1 in grade 8)
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Reach-Ahead Credits for grade 8s

Grade 8 students can, with the principal’s and their parents’ permission, opt to take 0.5 to 4.0 “Reach-Ahead” grade 9 credits in visual and/or performing arts, physical education, or technology. Students identified as gifted, or with exceptionally strong achievements in math, sciences, English, or French can request to take one or more grade 9 academic level half courses in grade 8.

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Montessori Secondary I Curriculum 

“It is the education of adolescents that is important, because adolescence is the time when the child enters on the state of adulthood and becomes a member of society.”  ~ Dr. Maria Montessori

Each Montessori Secondary I course spans three years, and is mapped to some of the curriculum expectations of Ontario Secondary School grade 9 courses. This allows students in grade 9 (and those in grade 8 taking ‘Reach a Head’ grade 9 Ontario credit courses) to complete parts of their OSSD while working on their Montessori Secondary I courses. The three year time span allows students to choose to work on multi-year projects, and/or to work on many related projects that build on each other. Students of different ages, interests, and abilities are able to work together on projects that interest them by taking on different roles and responsibilities. The interrelatedness and hands-on real world connections of Montessori education helps answer the common questions "Why do I need this?" and "When will I use this anyway?"

Montessori seminar is held every Friday morning, with some seminars extending into the afternoon. During Montessori Seminar students focus on one interdisciplinary topic that typically covers curriculum expectations in at least two Montessori courses, and typically at least one Ontario credit course. In addition to Friday mornings, several Montessori seminars are held off campus on overnight OE3 trips.

Assessment is project based and focuses on thinking, application, research, communication, collaboration, and presentation with few tests. Each year students complete a group peace project. In grade 9 each student chooses one Montessori subject that she has great interest in and completes a special Secondary I graduation project that includes: a variety of research types, a written product of 750 words (essay, article, children’s book, script, or book chapter), French vocabulary 3-part cards, and a presentation or performance.

Secondary I Project

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