Thinking About Junior High

Montessori Junior High Students in Yosemite with Half-Dome in the background

When you think about your junior high years, what do you remember? Your favorite teacher; your posse of friends; perhaps you remember the courses you liked the most or the least. Most often the common recollection of these years is how uncomfortable it was. It could be you were challenged with feeling like “everyone” might be looking at you and saying something about you? Whatever your personal junior high memory, I invite you to come to Wavecrest, and see what a different experience it is for the young adolescents of Santa Cruz Montessori.

At Wavecrest, the staff prepares an environment for adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15. We have the students for three years; hence we come to know one another quite well. Our rapport with the students is strong. Like all the classrooms at SCM, Wavecrest is guided by the mission statement and by the principles of Dr. Maria Montessori as she outlined in her book, From Childhood to Adolescence.  We design the environment to foster self-discipline, confidence, and to build a personal vision of the self working in society.

We encourage the students to be active participants in the educational process. One of our goals is to build an environment wherein through independent functioning a student realizes that his/her capacity for success in life is built on his/her own deeds and merits. Yes, we have classes in Spanish, science, art, math, and the humanities.

We believe that Wavecrest functions as a part of a larger community. We want students to see themselves not only as members of the Wavecrest community but also as members of Santa Cruz Montessori, Santa Cruz, the nation, the world, and the universe. A meaningful environment should prepare students to meet the challenges of these ever-changing communities in an atmosphere that encourages awareness and appreciation of diversity.

Written by Tom Postlewaite, Director of the Wavecrest Adolescent Program; he has been teaching at SCM since 1980. He founded the 
Wavecrest program in 1991 and teaches English and history.