High School

This prepared environment is designed for students ages 12 to 18 years.

The high school is divided into two distinct programs: the Lower High School or "ErdKinder" Program which correlates to grades 7-9, and the Upper High School Program which correlates to grades 10-12.

Prepared Environment: pathway to social independence

The high school environment combines the benefits of a calm, organized yet intellectually challenging classroom setting, with the greater canvas of a natural outdoor experience on our school's partner farm. The balance of these two important environments allows the adolescent the opportunity to construct his/her adult personality in safe yet physically and academically challenging environments, combining appropriate intellectual development with real, adult, meaningful work that makes a tangible contribution to our farm partner.

Humanities

The high school humanities curriculum is designed to integrate all aspects of language arts, literature, history and geography into units of study that are congruent and therefore meaningful to the student and that allows for both group and individual research and production. All skills are taught though project-based learning – either teacher designed and led.

Second Language Learning

All students in the lower and upper high-school programs pursue studies in either Chinese or Japanese. Lessons are conducted daily and are based on the humanities curriculum, which is designed to add depth to, and expand the bounds of the students' ongoing academic pursuits. Discussions and daily conversations continue to allow students to practice communicating their thoughts and feelings orally and in writing with clarity, imagination, and attention to register.

Mathematics

Mathematics follows conventional "math tracks" in the lower and upper high-school programs. A specialist math teacher conducts all math classes which range from pre-algebra to multi-variable calculus, depending on each individual student's own pace and level of academic performance. All students are expected to complete either Algebra I or high-school geometry by the age of 15, roughly the equivalent of high-school "freshman" math level. Math classes are intellectually rigorous, yet allow for an unusually high degree of personalized instruction.

Science

In 2014, the PRINTS Erdkinder was recognized when the students placed third in a national science competition run by C-K12.com. Here is a link to their wonderfully creative approach to teaching us all about the benefits of compost!

The lower high-school or "ErdKinder" curriculum is an integrated general science program, emphasizing the understanding of science concepts through hands-on experimentation. We conduct a Science Fair each spring and students may pick a topic to investigate. At all times, the emphasis is on the understanding of the scientific method as this is the key to fostering observation and independence, leading to genuine discovery in the sciences. At the upper high-school level, students pursue biology, physics, and chemistry, moving through the curriculum and adding skills.

The Farm

Each year, our lower high-school or "ErdKinder" students conduct weekly and bi-weekly visits to an organic farm located on the rugged and beautiful California coast, just south of Pescadero. The students engage fully in all aspects of farm work, learning everything from soil science to understanding wholesale and retail pricing of produce. Twice a year (spring and fall), the students spend a week living on the land, working alongside the farmer to engage more deeply with the life of the farm. The work on the farm is an integral aspect of the Montessori approach and is more than an "outdoor education" experience; it allows for unparalleled educational moments as students begin to experience the value of the connection to the natural world, with civilization, societal development, independence and economic prosperity.

Micro-Economy

The ErdKinder students learn about the importance of production and exchange as the means to a sustainable and independent life. Each year, the class designs a "business" and works together to learn all aspects of ensuring that their endeavor can be both successful and enjoyable. Concepts that emerge from this occupation include learning about sourcing material, cost of goods, manufacturing, distribution, sales, marketing, packaging, pricing and promotion. Examples of past micro-economies include making jams and jellies from our farm produce, and conducting bi-annual "fairs" for parents, selling hand-made goods. Participating in micro-economy fosters the entrepreneurial spirit in each child as they gain an awareness of the importance of resources, need, and social and economic responsibility.

>> Click here to see a parent presentation explaining the concept of Mico-Economy and its importance for early adolescent development.

Movement and Creative Expression

The high school environment allows students opportunities for complete freedom of motion, communication, rest and observation. Play is more formalized at this plane of development, and scheduled outdoor time happens daily with student or teacher-initiated conventional games like basketball, running or gardening. All students participate in farm days and are expected to engage fully in the physical demands of farm work. Creative Expression is continually emphasized and integrated into the students' subject area and school-wide projects. These art forms may include but are not limited to: dance, painting, ceramics, collage, crafts, cooking and nutrition, gardening, and videography.