“Work of the hand and the head….the hand is the tool of the intelligence.”
Erdkinder Philosophy for the Adolescent
Maria Montessori recommended that the adolescent should spend a period of time in the country away from the environment of the family. This would provide an opportunity to study civilization through its origin in agriculture. She suggested they should live in a hostel, where they would learn to manage and open a shop where sale of produce would bring in the fundamental mechanics of society, production, and exchange on which economic life is based.
Montessori outlined a general plan for their studies and work but believed that the program she called Erdkinder, German for “land children”, could only be developed from experience. In our society, the farm model became the Montessori foundation for this work of the adolescent. She believed that the work on the land would open up their understanding of the society they are about to join.
In an urban school, this work is carried out through gardening and projects in our gardens. Our vision for the 2021-22 school year and beyond is to have an established microeconomy and work towards a small farm that will work in conjunction with our food production. For the adolescent and for all of us, growing your own food is powerful. To grow it and then share or sell it some way is Montessori’s vision for our middle school students.
At ECMCS our middle school students get business/exchange of commerce experience through their pizza business and now our smoothie business. They get the “Erdkinder” food production through our smoothie work.
Valorization of the Adolescent
Montessori spoke of the valorization of the adolescent as the adolescent’s process of becoming a strong and worthy person. Valorization of the adolescent is arrived at through belonging and contribution. Adolescents must be able to experience:
- Division of Labor
- How human social organizations work
- Experiences that feel adult-like and real
- High level of ownership
Swirl Smoothies: COAST Smoothies on Fridays
One middle school COAST group is embracing Maria Montessori’s idea of Erdkinder, by growing produce to create a product. They are currently using their own spinach and kale in our smoothies. We have two different smoothies for sale right now and they will be available for purchase every Friday. MS Coast students will be taking orders on Thursdays in the annex and the main building lobby. Each smoothie is $4.00.