Montessori School of Lake Forest

13700 West Laurel Drive, Lake Forest, Illinois, 60045, United States

Q2: What is the age range of children in the school / organisation? 

0-3, 3-6, 6-12, 12-15,

0-15 are served by a weekly Parent Infant class. We provide formal daily programming starting at 15


Q3: What is the number of children in each of the age ranges?

3-6                    94

6-12                  57

12-15                23

Q4: How is the school / organisation funded?

Fee paying,  We also fund raise.

Q5: What year was the adolescent (age 12+) organisation/ school established or when it is planned to start?


Q6: Are students together in mixed age groups?


Q7: What is the school / organisation policy about accepting children without previous Montessori experience to the adolescent programme?

We work hard to assess whether the child in question presents Margaret Stephenson’s 2 prerequisites: that they have achieved sufficient respect for themselves, their community, their environment, and sufficient responsibility toward themselves, their community, their environment, to be able to participate fully without taxing teacher and fellow student resources unduly.

Q8: What are the arrangements regarding boarding?

No boarding

Q9: Which of the following best describes the location of your school / organisation?


Q10: Would you describe your school / organization as land based?


Q11: What qualifications are offered at 16? 


Q12: What qualifications are offered at 18?


Q13: Which teaching approaches are used?

Lectures, Seminars, Individual research, Curriculum textbooks, Experiential learning,

Teaching approaches vary per area of study and goal of learning activity. Lectures are quite

interactive, students are expected to inquire during them.

Q14: Are the young people linked into the local community? 

They help out on a small nearby farm, they provide a weekly market to their school community during the growing seasons, and they help to glean in the fields and then deliver that produce to a local food bank–in this program they learn recipes from food recipients.

Q15: What is your school’s capacity for each age range?

12-15 36-40

Q16: Do you accept students without previous Montessori experience into the adolescent programme?


Q17: Does your adolescent school/organization have access to land?

It is based on the land

Q18: In what ways do your adolescents interact with land? (tick all that apply)

Raising crops/fruits/vegetables, Care of animals,

Land preservation and restoration,

Other (please specify)

minimal care of animals, we are working toward more of this, needing to establish weekend and holiday care

Q19: Approximately what percentage of study is derived from the work on the land? (please provide examples)

25% at least; 2x week work on farm, steady participation in the students’ farm market business, many other lessons deriving from the land

Q20: If students travel to the land and board there, how often do they stay there and for how long? (please describe)


Q21: What are the facilities that make up your adolescent environment?

Classrooms, Kitchen, Science Lab, Library, Computers, Art Studio, Workshops,

Agricultural Land,

Other, please give details (for example barn, greenhouse, theatre, forest, pond, river)

hoop house, honeybees, flower gardens, ponds, walking trails, prairie

Q22: Which professional institutions outside of the school structure do your students use?

Art Galleries, Museums, Botanical Gardens,

Other (please describe) art studios

Q23: How many adults work in the adolescent programme?

Full time 3

Part time 5

Q24: How many members of staff are specialists? (Please give details)

4 part time: Latin, Spanish, Farm, Science, Human Development. 3 full time: History, Math, Art and

Language & Literature

Q25: How many adults working in the adolescent programme have Montessori qualifications at the adolescent level?


Q26: Have any members of your staff attended the AMI/NAMTA adolescent orientation programme? (Please indicate numbers and location)


Sweden 1

Q27: How many adults have undertaken adolescent training elsewhere? (Please give details)

1 for Elementary, 2 for 0-3, 1 for Primary

Q28: How many adults who have undertaken adolescent orientation also have Montessori qualifications at other levels? (Please give numbers and the level of training)

0-3 0

3-6 0

6-12 0

12-18 0

Q29: How many adults working in the adolescent programme have Montessori qualifications at other levels but have not had adolescent orientation?

0-3 2

3-6 1

6-12 1

Q30: How many adults working in the adolescent programme have only traditional teaching qualifications?


Q31: How many adults are directly involved in the adolescent programme? (Please list their roles, e.g. House Parent, Farm Manager, Kitchen Manager)

All the teachers, including specialists, are directly involved in helping student managers to guide various specialty groups that manage their market, the house, the grounds.

Q32: Are additional external specialists contracted and for what specialties?

Music, Arts, Sports, Crafts, Culinary Arts, Construction, Farming, Mechanics

Q33: Of these, how many have been exposed to Montessori methods?


Q34: What percentage of time does the adolescent spend receiving instructional lessons and how much time is given to independent learning?

Instructional (approximate percentage per week) 20

Independent (approximate percentage per week) 20

Q35: What opportunities are provided for adolescents to experience community life?

Other (please describe) Although not a residential program, ours provides a strong focus on community life on a daily basis. We focus very consistently on building collaboration as we work with students to meet goals and solve problems, of all sorts. This is very successful and it is clear that community life does not depend solely on residential experience, although it is also clear that residential experience adds to the experience of community. We are developing a pattern of campouts, the program travels off-campus for week-long and 2-week-long trips, and we aim to incorporate more travel in general.


Residence/Boarding House

Guest House

Store Part time

Farm Full time

Social Experiences outside the school Never

Q36: How often do the adolescents have the opportunity to experience production and exchange?

If regularly or occasionally, please describe how

They participate in a weekly market, selling the produce they grow through their farm business.

During the cold months, they review and plan for the business, order and start seeds. They are also involved in developing other products to sell—for instance, not only honey from their bees, but also beeswax products, etc.

Q37: Does the adolescent community run their own bussiness?


Please give details

farm business, see previous note

Q38: Are profits returned to the group for collective use or given out to individuals?

Collective (please provide details) The students track their income and spending; one of them is the accountant this year. They spend their money on school supplies for the program, and for various trips or special plans.

Q39: What responsibilities do the adolescents have in respect of their environment?

Other (please specify)

They help to maintain building and grounds, manage their own finances, cook their own lunch.

Q40: What responsibilities do the adolescents have in respect of themselves?

Other (please specify) Cooking, cleaning, finances

Q41: To what extent do the adolescents have the opportunity to take responsibility for their own study and work? (Please describe)

We do not use grades. They participate in weekly advisory group sessions during which they discuss their progress through assignments. They are accountable for their own work, for negotiating with teachers when assignments are late, for trying and trying again, until they learn the time management skills and self-direction they need.

Q42: Is your school able to fully implement the Montessori adolescent approach or are there state mandated requirements that prevent you from full implementation?

Able to fully implement

Q43: How is student progress assessed? Give details of frequency

Optional National/State tests once per year

Reflective of Montessori principles and intended outcomes via goal setting conferences, parent-student teacher conferences, regular teacher reflection

Q44: Please describe how your adolescent programme supports the changing developmental characteristics of the adolescent.

Change of attitude towards academic study due to new focus on real life work (younger adolescent)

We back off on the amount of academics while maintaining quality. We accept slowness as the adolescent brain reorganizes itself.

Desire to undertake work that directly affects the environment (physical and social)

We both provide for it through programming and allow for it as interest arises, as students see needs and work to meet them.

The appearance of sensitive periods for personal dignity and social justice allowing for expression of solidarity, empathy and sense of mission, moral position

We work carefully with the concept of freedom and limits, and we focus on everyone’s dignity. Adults work hard to be excellent role models. Walking the talk is crucial. We take very seriously Margaret Stephenson’s advice that people are ready to enter an adolescent program when they manifest the necessary respect (for self, for others, for the environment) and responsibility (for self, for others, for the environment). We expect this not only of students, but also of teachers.

The need to be alone and seek solitude Scheduled daily reflection time, and steady respect for this need.

The desire to undertake vocational activity We have a workshop and daily life provides various opportunities to meet needs in “vocational” ways. We support these as they arise, however we can.

The urge to become economically independent The farm business with its many moving parts; the experience of planning menus and shopping within a budget; the same with trip planning.

The need to separate from family We work with parents in many ways, to support them through the separation, which is really not so much away from the family as it is into a new role within and new relationship to, the family. We try hard to model for both students and parents the behaviors we are looking to help them develop toward each other. We respect student privacy, but we also fully respect the bond between adolescent and parent. It is our job to facilitate the family’s growth.

The need to create community All day, every day.

Q45: Please describe how your programme incorporates Montessori’s ideas of psychic development (formative education). Include a description of the prepared environment that supports this activity.

Our most important organizing principle is that of the 0-3 parallels. Everything we do is focused on psychic development, all of our programming, our standards for community, for ways adults relate to students, our advisory and teaching methods, etc. We offer a Human Development class which all students participate in every year. This class addresses the issues of where we come from, who we are, who we will become. The class relies on the 0-3 parallels, as does the entire program.

Q46: Please describe how your programme incorporates Montessori’s ideas of Preparation for adult life. Include a description of the prepared environment that supports this activity

Study of the earth and living things Farm, science, math-physics

Human progress History, math,

History of mankind history

Q47: Please describe how your programme incorporates Montessori’s ideas of self-expression. Include a description of the prepared environment that supports this activity

We have a good art studio including a kiln and pottery-making activity. We have strong language lessons with various student-generated outlets for creative writing. Have organized coffee-houses, have a piano and guitars which students play.

Q48: Please provide any other information that you would like to share with us

I re-emphasize the power of the 0-3 parallels. They guide teachers and parents and students alike; to understand a baby is to understand a 7th year, for instance. I would be happy to expand upon this further; it is an observation tested through many years of experience with both age groups. And here is an interesting fact of practice: I have observed that Primary and Elementary teachers typically do not have good ideas for how to deal with adolescents, and they often need guidance in dealing with them. The 0-3 teachers ALWAYS are able to deal with young adolescents very well.

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