Middle school students engage with residents during weekly visits to local assisted living facility

At ArborCreek Montessori Academy, students have begun to enter into a new stage of cognitive development: adolescence. Students are engaging in abstract reasoning, lively debate, and formulating new ideas and questions. The middle school curriculum provides real-world opportunities for students to engage within their community and apply these new skills. Service learning is an important aspect of the adolescent’s journey to answer foundational questions such as “Who am I?” and “What is my place in the world?” 

Service learning at ArborCreek Montessori Academy means that students engage in weekly visits with local residents at Brookdale Assisted Living, where they work with Montessori materials together with the senior citizens. Studies have shown that engaging with Montessori materials promotes cognitive wellbeing, happiness, and productivity within the elderly population. Students form deep and meaningful relationships and strengthen the local community by connecting with individuals across generations. 

In addition to the visits, our students engage in service learning reflection, where they are able to contemplate, discuss, and write about their experiences. One student, Mica, stated, “It’s been meaningful to me because we get to learn about residents’ lives and how they grew up. I like how we go there and give them company because sometimes they don’t receive visitors. I’ve learned a lot about having patience for others.” Another student, Azure, commented, “I like that we’re helping them understand the Montessori materials. I have to step out of my comfort zone to start a conversation sometimes and the materials help them talk a lot.”