Junior School Learning Community
Grades 3-6/Ages 8-12
The Junior School Learning Community is a supportive and challenging family-style environment...
In the Junior School Learning Community two to three teachers work together presenting lessons individually or in small groups when each girl is ready for them and has mastered the skills and topics that come before. Students can choose to work on lessons that have been presented to them, and are listed in their work folders. They also have a choice in where they work - on beautiful wooden desks and chairs, on work rugs on the floor, on the sofa, or even on Muskoka chairs. This "choice within structure" guides Odyssey Heights students to develop a life-long love of learning, a knowledge of their personal learning styles, and develop their executive functioning skills - both essential attributes for success in the 21st Century.
Regular 10-15 minute teacher-student conferences with each student helps OHS girls:
- reflect on their learning and understand their most effective learning styles,
- make good work choices.
- respect the work of others by not interrupting or interfering, and by providing help when they can,
- to recognize where they can improve,
- to create a plan for doing better in areas that they need to work on, and
- ultimately take responsibility and ownership of their learning,
The carefully developed, research proven, and engaging Montessori international curriculum exceeds provincial standards. At ages 8-12 children are becoming aware of the world around them, and are curious to learn more. Montessori teachers are trained to support and guide this curiosity for learning, though careful and caring observation and respect for each child's needs, interests, and talents. A significant amount of time, thought, and effort is spent before the school year starts setting up the physical environment so materials are already available when students' develop new interests or want to explore existing ones in more depth. The uninterrupted 2-3 hour long work periods allow Odyssey Heights girls to become immersed in their chosen work.
Teachers observe students and take detailed notes on their progress and learning styles. Reports are sent home to parents at least twice a month - instead of just a few times a year like in conventional schools.
Gifted students benefit from the low student teacher ratio, team-teaching, and multiage environment as it easily supports them having more individualized attention, pursuing particular interests in more depth, and working at a faster pace than their age peers - all while still being in the same group of students. The wider age range than conventional schools allows gifted girls to find intellectual peers that may be one to several years older than them.
For girls with attention and focus issues and/or with learning disabilities seating choices and uninterrupted work periods gives them the freedom (with teacher guidance) to work where they will be most comfortable and productive, and the time to refocus and work through tasks that may take them more time than other students. Team teaching allows these girls to get more one-on-one attention, while still being in the same Learning Community as other students.