“Valorization of the personality , in making him capable of succeeding in life by his own efforts and on his own merits and at the same time it would put him in direct contact with the supreme reality of social life (Montessori 64, 1994).”
Why Beekeeping with Adolescents
When the Middle School at Woodside opened its doors in 2004, we were looking for authentic and meaningful ways to engage students in their studies. Dr, Maria Montessori tells us that the early adolescent thrives in a land-based setting which she called the erdkinder environment. Work on the land allows the early adolescent to see the cause and effect of their actions and problem solve options to adjust course. Not being based on a farm, Woodside had to carefully consider how we would meet this pedagogic approach within our environment; one way we chose was beekeeping.
Early on, the adolescents showed interest in the Head of School's hobby as a beekeeper. Kathy kindly brought the students to her house to explore her hives. Little did we know that those visits would lead us to open Icarus Apiaries and establish several successful hives on campus including the first AZ hive at a school in the United States.
As the Middle School classes showed and increasing interest in beekeeping as a microeconomy we had to consider:
What compliments the goals of our environment
What is a natural extension to their erdkinder experience
What will give our adolescents a comprehensive and cohesive occupation through meaningful work
What will be sustainable over the years that will be meaningful and continue to evolve
Beekeeping is a very multi-faceted venture and requires careful consideration of the community in which they are based.
Valorization of the Adolescent Through Work on the Land
Dr. Maria Montessori explains valorization as the process by which an adolescent’s personality and sense or worth is reinforced through accomplishing adult-like, reality based tasks on his own. What better way for adolescents to begin their foray into the adult world then through a microeconomy that is driven by their own work. This process of valorization will enable the adolescent to move into their adult role in society through finding out who they are and their “purpose”.
Valorization is marked by what Montessori terms the “noble characteristics”: