Ages 12 to 14 years
The WMS Middle School provides the ideal learning environment for adolescents fostering intellectual, physical, and emotional development (the whole person) and allowing them to pursue their interests while achieving academic and leadership excellence. The Montessori process encourages lifelong learning and an approach to every experience as an opportunity to acquire knowledge, continue personal growth, and positively impact the environment.
The Middle School is housed at 800 Richmond Road and takes advantage of the tremendous resources that both the Watermen’s Museum and York River State Park have to offer. Distinctive features of the program include access to science labs and research-based facilities; partnership with the Waterman’s Museum and other community resources; aquaculture service projects; oyster bed cultivation; and boat building.
The curriculum is designed to equip students with skills, concepts, and habits of mind needed to succeed in high school advanced placement courses and college. All courses of study are hands-on opportunities to engage in meaningful work. Ninth grade students earn high school credit for all courses taken. Courses marked with an * indicate a high school credit course.
- Students use higher-order thinking skills to solve problems in relation to a variety of challenges
- Students explore in depth numbers, properties, simple equations, higher measurement, computer calculation and graphics, geometric proofs, and algebraic equations.
- Math is taught through both traditional and hands-on direct instruction, daily independent practice, and individual and group practice in solving real-life problems such as building oyster floats, designing and building boats, constructing raised gardens and building and maintaining greenhouse structures, analyzing statistics in economics and civics.
- Courses include: Pre-Algebra, Algebra* and Geometry*
- Through building a strong foundation in and understanding of the English language, the student develops confidence in self-expression and reason and is prepared for the demands of higher education
- The Language Arts curriculum utilizes Socratic seminar discussion, oral presentation, debates, drama, video, and photography
- Daily lessons include context grammar, journaling, editing, vocabulary, and literary techniques
- A rigorous writing program that includes essays, persuasive writing, research papers, journalism, analytical writing and creative writing
- Literature studies integrate with history and science themes and center around novels, short stories, poetry and biographies with focus on literary devices and the elements of writing (components of style, genre, characterization, theme, etc.)
- Physical and Life Sciences are taught in alternating years in 7th and 8th Grades.
- Hands on scientific inquiry activities with an emphasis in critical thinking and data analysis lead students to understanding of subject matter
- As part of an integrated curriculum, writing assignments support the need for communication in science
AQUACULTURE AND BAY STUDIES
- Students embark on a journey to learn more about the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in North America, and to teach what they learn to others
- Emphasis is placed on stewardship to the environment as students are encouraged to do community service work that promotes the health of the Bay
- Partnering with Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Oyster Reef Keepers of Virginia, students grow oysters to be placed on protected reefs
- To balance an understanding of Earth’s water force, we also study the land.
- Land Lab experiences include colonial and native Virginia gardening at the Watermen’s Museum and participation in a NASA-sponsored GLOBE project at our Riverview Land Lab.
HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY, AND CIVICS
- Historical study includes the Americas as well as other world civilizations using an evolving timeline and a focus on large questions and patterns in history
- Students use geographic themes of location, human-environment interaction, movement, and region to integrate ideas from history and geography
- Primary readings from different historical periods, as well as novel studies, are included
- Students learn about their government through practical experiences, such as field trips, community involvement and simulations
- Lessons include vocabulary, oral language, listening comprehension, and cultural studies
- Spanish 1 and 2 will be taught either in one- or two-year cycles according to each student’s goals and abilities
CULTURAL ARTS AND TECHNOLOGY
- Music: focuses on the development of musicianship skills through the study of music history, music theory, and guitar
- Art Foundations: introduces art vocabulary to critique, evaluate and grow the student’s appreciation of the visual arts. Two-D and 3-D techniques and mediums are introduced and explored
- Technology: integrated with other subject areas in project-based learning and follows the standards set by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Technology projects and applications include LEGO Robotics, Globe research, an E-Newsletter in collaboration with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Keyboarding, Excel, Photoshop, multimedia production, and Edmodo
- Physical Education: Skill building, sports practice, health and nutrition combine with a focus on wellness and a healthy lifestyle