GREENVILLE — DeColores Montessori Junior High students participated in their annual Leadership Camp at the school’s farm campus on Bear’s Mill Road last week, exploring topics surrounding the 2020 theme, Exploration and Building. Students examined ways the Earth’s landscape has changed and conducted research on people and places that have shaped modern history.
The annual Leadership Camp provides 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students an opportunity to gain valuable knowledge about the Darke County community, the balance between agriculture and industry, as well as the practice of farming techniques and the routine of daily life on a working farm.
Animal clinics, orienting classes, and group initiatives promote the Montessori approach to introducing students to complex topics, and allowing individual student curiosity and questioning to shape the course of the discussions which follow. “In addition to the gift of the farm, with it’s 25 acres and animals to care for, is the ‘gift of time’ for our DeColores adolescents,” said Nancy Dean, founder and principal of DeColores Montessori. “If we want our youth to be problem solvers, deep thinkers and collaborators, then they need time in their day to think and reflect and be still. In this very busy world, this is an invaluable piece of our program.”
Some seminar topics researched by students were eminent domain, just compensation, public use, groupthink, and conformity. One particular subject of interest this year was Maya Angelou’s poem, “The Mask,” wherein students explored the the concept of the mask, as both a physical object and a social construct, and discussed its relevance to daily life amid a pandemic. In addition, students participated in Socratic discussions with experts on-site, which allowed them to relate their findings to support their future MicroEconomy Club projects, which were presented at the end of the weeklong camp.
DeColores Montessori alumnus, Mark Graber, discussed renovations to the farm’s chicken coop and how to capitalize on egg production and manure collection. Jesse Peters spoke with students about the pros and cons of horses and miniature horses, and examined the interactions between people and horses through several simulations. Students also worked with Jason Garber who discussed the many benefits of raising sheep. Another DeColores Montessori alum, Maiya Dilbone, presented her Food Truck Blessing Box campaign to students. This campaign currently hosts 12 installed “boxes” throughout the Troy area, and has received grants to continue her work feeding people within the community.
Parents and students interested in exploring the Montessori approach to learning might consider taking tours of its main campus, the Jr. High Farm campus, and exploring the summer offerings at DeColores Montessori, which are planned several months in advance. “DeColores education is available to children ages three to twelve during the summer camps offered at the Farm Campus.” explained Dean, “Enrollment begins in March 2021.”
To learn more about DeColores Montessori School (Main Campus), the Farm School (Jr. High Campus), or to inquire about scheduling a tour, contact Dr. Christine Seger at 937-547-1334, or visit www.decoloresschool.org