More about the adolescent program


The goal of Montessori education is to fully develop the potential that children naturally have.

For the ages 12-18, Maria Montessori designed a safe environment of a country farm, where students live and work and learn together with their guides.

The farm is a place where students can advance their developmental needs and, at the same time, find the entire curriculum of the second level of a grade school (an equivalent to the middle school or junior high). Work on the farm provides an endless source of experiences, practical as well as social and academic.

Students of this age are willing to do academic work if it is meaningful for them. Physical work on the farm is closely related to the topic to learn about, to work optimization, to communication within the group and to transmitting information.

Farming is not the goal (we are not raising the children to be farmers), but the means to develop their work and study habits, social sense, responsibility, self-reliance, attitudes and values (our Department of Education, Youth and Physical Training calls these Key Competencies). It is also a place where they can, by living in nature, calm down their emotional roller coasters.

We in Perlička have been inspired by “Montessori Farm Schools” abroad, which support the advance of developmental needs of this age. Because the Perlička Elementary School launched the adolescent program only in September 2018, our program is only in the beginning stages of its formation.


We have a house at our disposal in a small village of Křížovice in the Vysočina Region where the adolescents have 4-night stays every two weeks. During the stay, they take care of themselves (they cook, clean …) and they also do physical work in the orchard (they preserve fruit, take care of the vegetable beds and the trees, do repairs – paint, improve) etc.

For them to gain partial financial independence, we try to develop microeconomy of the class, so that we may use the money earned to continue building our farm (for example, the funds earned for selling apples are invested to buy lumber for the fence).


Offering accommodation or hospitality at our farm is a great opportunity to learn to provide services. We are going to try to launch this project this academic year.


Adolescents in the Montessori environment learn to appreciate how humanity has advanced in the area of technology. At our farm, we collect both contemporary as well as older models of technical devices (a modern gas-powered lawn mower versus a scythe). We learn to work with or to understand the development of, some of these devices, and to appreciate an often unknown ancestor who devised them.


As these are still early days of our Montessori farm, until we are ready to have the adolescent program fully in Křížovice, we use a classroom in Obřany where we follow the work on the farm with academic aspects and we focus on languages, mathematics and self-expression.

As the work on the farm is closely interconnected with the content of the curriculum, it is easier for the adolescents to maintain their inner motivation for academic work.

The work in the classroom also includes efforts to support our microeconomy by making and selling small goods.


Self-expression is another great need for venting in this age. This is self-expression through art, poetry, essays, crafts, music, dance or sport.

Self-expression is a natural part of search for one’s personality, self-presentation, acquisition of self-confidence and self-esteem. This is the reason why modern teens often find enjoyment in social media, where they find this self-esteem, albeit only a false and virtual one.

Perlička keeps this need in mind and offers the adolescents opportunities for real self-expression through photography lessons, painting, singing, playing instruments, sports, dancing, etc.



The adult guide sets the culture of the class, guides the students, communicates with experts (teachers of specialized subject areas or specialists in farming or woodworking, for example) and links the farm work to the grade school curriculum.

The guide takes part in meal preparation, cleaning and farm activities, they work alongside the adolescents to model desirable work habits and behavior.

The adult has an overview of what work, lessons or subject matters need to be presented to the students. The adult is a kind and respectful guide. They also set limits on behavior, should the situation call for it.


As this is a very different educational system, parents must be firmly convinced that this is the right form of education for their family, in order to trust it and send their child to the farm with confidence.

The students do not have access to their cell phones during the farm stay. This is mainly to enable them to form social contacts, play games, read books, learn to read maps, search for information in books and many other activities that the modern phones do “on our behalf”.

We, however, strongly believe that it is necessary at this age to learn these skills in reality, so that the adolescents may understand the matter in hand before they start fully utilize modern technologies.

There is, however, a school cell phone that is available for the group of adolescents, so that their parents can contact them, and vice versa, in case of need (to be picked up from the train station, falling sick, etc.)

The most considerate way is if parents send a text message. Children will then call them back when they have free time (after lunch/dinner).

In this sensitive age, you cannot expect your children to be able to describe in detail what they do at the farm or at school, what academic or other work they engage in. This kind of “interest” from their parents may not be very welcome by the children.

Nonetheless, these young students do appreciate an occasional help the parents can offer, for example with chopping wood for the winter, with taking away or bringing bulky items, teaching the students how to bake bread, presenting them a new art technique or any other workmanship or expertise they know.

In this case, the adolescents appreciate the parents’ sincere interest and they will be proud for their help. The parents are then rewarded by naturally being able to look “under the lid” and see how the adolescents work and study on the farm, what relationships and habits they have.

Twice a year, the adolescents have a conference with the teacher and the parents (student-parent-teacher) where the student presents the results of their work – physical, social and academic – to the parents. If needed, the parents can contact the class teacher outside these conferences directly and ask how their child is doing, or the teachers contact the parents with messages of various types.


The adolescents take turns in different functions (the finance manager, the farm manager, the meal planner, etc.) In their roles, they are assisted either by the teacher or by a student that has already held that position in the past.

The adolescent is responsible to the entire class for this role but it is common that the peers help. It is very individual how independent they are in performing their role, according to their possibilities and knowledge, nevertheless, the aim is to achieve independence and responsibility for the role, to try it out and then to take on another one.



The class has regular formal meetings where students take turns in being the chair and the minute keeper. The class meeting has its regular agenda points, the students-managers submit reports on their areas. The students also make decisions and vote on proposals. The objective of these regular meetings is for the class to take responsibility for the entire farm as well as for the process of learning.


The curriculum is connected to the physical work on the farm through approx. five-week projects. A topic is selected (composting, tree planting, making a herbal garden, etc.) and during the following weeks, the students get lessons on the topic, they study on their own and do physical work.

They manage the work by themselves, so, for example, they take measurements of an area, they look to suitable material, prepare the budget, contact and visit experts, physically implement and at the end, present the project, including their academic work related to the topic, however loosely (the art, language, biology, physics, etc.)

Besides these projects, the students also have normal lessons where they receive the learning that is more difficult to relate to the farm work or that requires more systematic approach (regular language, math, ethics lessons, etc.).


Parents are often interested how easy the transition from this kind of school to the high school is. They want to make certain that their children will be prepared in the academic sense.

The experience of the Montessori Farm Schools abroad shows that students are on a comparable level of academic knowledge with their peers. There is, however, a distinct difference in the personalities of students of these schools. They are responsible for their own learning, they are fully developed, life loving humans who are cognizant of their own strengths and weaknesses.

However, if it is really important to you, the parents, that your child be accepted to a prestigious grammar school after grade 9, then we are probably not the right choice for you.

Your intelligent, educated, hard-working, responsible and self-confident child may choose to go to grammar school and therefore will get in. But your child may get interested in another field of human endeavor and wish to pursue it. Your child will be able to assert their opinion and follow their inner voice. So, if you place a high value on academic work at this age, you will probably be more comfortable with a school where the knowledge is dispensed to the students without their own initiative.