The House of Youth 

Natus Ad Majora

A TYPICAL DAY

 

“ I arrive in the morning and greet my friends and teachers while chatting over a cup of tea. Before our morning gathering, we all head in separate directions, taking some solo time to collect our thoughts, journal, or just sit and think for a few minutes. Then we gather for our morning community meeting, to share any big topics or plans for the day or the week, and connect as a group.

Around 9:30 our Core Course starts. Sometimes it’s math, sometimes language, depending on the day. Since it’s an hour and a half long, we have instruction and then time to work on new topics, or practice things that we’re still mastering. I use the time in math to also work on analyzing the pie chart graph I’m creating for my research  on agriculture around the world.

When Core Course is over, I have a few minutes to take a lap and run around the garden, or play basketball for a few minutes, before Arts of Living starts. Today my partner and I are going to keep working on developing a new product to sell. We are trying to make a batch of chocolate-covered pistachios to sample and then decide if they are feasible as a product, and how much we should charge. We had a lesson on pricing and profits recently, which will help us decide. Later in class, we’ll probably also have a discussion to follow up on yesterday’s question of how our minds influence the quality of our lives.

During the morning, the cooking team for today was busy making lunch for the community so when it’s lunch time, we all help get the tables ready, and then eat together.  After we’ve all cleaned up, we have a brief meeting to see if any work needs to be done in the environment. I offer to fix the door that’s loose on its hinges. Someone else wants to wash the windows so we can see the garden more nicely. Once our maintenance work is done, some of us play sports outside while others like to relax or play the piano and then join the games afterwards.

Our Work and Study block starts at 2:00. As we want to focus on our garden, the topic in this block is Agriculture, and we’re 2 weeks into it. Our teacher gives us a short lesson on the Green Revolution, and we talk about the pros and cons of using fertilizer and pesticides. Then we have time to work on our research. I’m exploring which countries have the most arable land by percentage. I’m curious if this has anything to do with the overall wealth of a country. One of my friends is researching organic farming and has organized a trip to interview an organic farmer. Someone else is testing the quality of the soil in our garden. Another friend is looking into where the shops in Casablanca get all their fruits. Sometimes I find something interesting for my friend’s research along the way. I actually had no idea agriculture gives you so much to think about.

We have a lot of time to work on our research, but later we can use time for other things if we have other priorities. For example, if someone has some math or something else to work on, they do that too. Or if someone’s team needs to produce some inventory, they can work on their product. We have a lot to do, so we’re careful with using our time responsibly, but often we’re all doing different things at the same time. Sometimes we might have a meeting with our advisor during this time, and other days we have an arts lesson where we learn art forms such as enameling, or traditional arts like ceramics. Other times we use the 3-D printer to make things, and a lot of times someone is working on a new art project.

During our Self and Community sessions, which are once or twice a week, we learn a lot about psychology, which is surprisingly helpful since sometimes we have trouble making decisions as a group. We also look into how we can do things to help the community in Casablanca, such as cleaning up the beach. Usually once a week we go on an outing, sometimes for a hike or a bike ride, something outside.

At the end of each day we have a chance to reflect back on what we did, what the day felt like, and we’re always thinking about how we want our community to be.”

2020- L.O.S. Crédit photo: Ecole Montessori Casablanca