INTRODUCTION

Adolescence is considered by many as the most challenging period in life. The brain is undergoing reconstruction and concentration can be a difficult task to master. It’s a period of great uncertainty and at the same time the adolescent can feel like number one and confident. Through an inclusive and safe school environment, the adolescents will experience being taken care of both socially and academically and develop through both practical and theoretical work and thus be well prepared for further studies, professional careers and adult life in general. This, in turn, will lead to confidence and a belief in oneself. The adolescents will become positive contributors to modern society within and beyond the nation’s borders. 

We strive for the adolescents to look back on their everyday life at DMU with joy and optimism. Our vision is to assist the adolescents to develop a strong sense of self worth, identity and a clear understanding of their meaningful role in society at large. We prepare the for adult life to be able to feel a strong sense of independence both socially and economically. 

LEARNING THROUGH REAL EXPERIENCE

Our vision is grounded further in these five principles

The adolescents will have the freedom to choose, to a large degree how to engage in meaningful work, manually and intellectually. Freedom is also a notion of feeling free – free to express oneself and free as a human being. It is through freedom that the adolescent shows her/his true personality, develops a self-discipline and concentration. 

The adolescents will be treated from the standpoint of who they are, not as a group, but individualized. This informs us of how to direct work adjusted individually, and also brings about the necessity for mixed age groups. 

The adolescents will, through their meaningful work, manually and intellectually, gain a true sense of independence, socially and economically. Independence also reflects the ability to work independently, be a self-starter.  

The adolescents will work cooperatively in a prepared environment. This is a period where socializing is important. They will find ample opportunity to cultivate a sense of genuine community, social experience, economic activities, and periodic residential life. 

The adolescents will experience a community firmly grounded in the idea of man working harmoniously and sustainably with nature.

EVERYDAYLIFE AT DMU

A Normal school day: We start at 08:15 and run until 14:00 on Mondays and Fridays, while 15:15 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We emphasize long uninterrupted work periods to allow for in depth study, concentration and development of stamina.  On the longest days, there is hot lunch made by the students. We also have physical activity where we engage in field hockey, fotball, walks, table tennis, paddle tennis and more.  We also offer the adolescents flexible work hours before and after school hours with a guide.  

Mixed age groups: 8th and 9th grade work together in all classes. This way, everybody can find someone at their level to work with and identify with. 10th grade focuses more on exam preparation and further studies. 10th grade has a slightly more academic focus, but still work in mixed age groups with PE, arts and crafts, mucis, cooking, coding and drama. The whole school community share the responsibilities around morning meetings, a weekly council, community work, cooking and basic maintenance. 

Lunch: Lunch is a central part of everyday life at DMU, where the adolescents and the guides plan and cook together. We gather for community lunch in our common dining hall. This is an important arena for socializing, cooperation, and gain a sense of social and economic independence.

Decision-making: We wish for the adolescents to be able to take part in decision making processes and work hard to involve them. The council meetings are planned and run by the adolescents and furthermore many other areas such as economy, cooking, fire safety, maintenance, care for our animals etc involve the adolescents. Our community requires that everybody contributes, just like it should be in society at large. 

Micro economy: One of the main goals is for the adolescent to enter adulthood as responsible and independent individuals, both socially and economically. DMU strives to be a community in itself where the adolescent can experience creating and running businesses and work towards a community-driven economy. Examples from our school are:

  • production of eggs
  • production of honey through beekeeping
  • seaweed products from the Oslofjord
  • Guiding tours of our own eco building
  • work by the adolescents in our own Montessori kindergarten
  • cafe with sales of homemade products/crafts

All money earned, is administered by the adolescents themselves.

Occupations: An occupation provides direct and practical experience, rather than a symbolic experience, with a task or activity. It is meaningful work, related to conditions in the real world, connecting intellectual and the practical educational goals. Subjects like math, Norwegian, English, and science are naturally incorporated into this experience. 

Project based education: No single subject is taught in isolation at DMU. We work interdisciplinary and the school year is mostly broken into 4 week periods where the adolescents work on a project related to a topic based in either the social or natural sciences. We work according to the three period lesson with focus first on “key lessons”, followed by a long period of in-depth study and finally the third period where the adolescents present their findings through presentations, drama, music, models etc. 

Reading seminars also form an important and integral part of this project based education where adolescents and guides meet to discuss literature, articles, films etc. This, in turn, constitutes a vital part in language development and oral skills.   

Self-expression: The adolescent has a strong need to express oneself and develop their own identity and not least be allowed to stay in touch with their own interests, while also be challenged to delve into new areas of expression. Self-expression is organized in mixed age groups through workshops designed both by the adolescents and guides and constitute the basis for activities within Physical education, arts, crafts, music, programming/koding, drama and more. 

Joint projects and international exchange: DMU wants to be involved in society at large both on a local, national and international level. The adolescents are to get a real life experience with various institutions and organizations. Over the years we also have great experience with international exchange, where the adolescents can experience other cultures and societies.  Below is a list of past and present projects DMU is involved in. :

  • Global Montessori Games
  • Freie Montessori Schule i Berlin
  • Montessori Model United Nations in Rome
  • NIVA 
  • Democracy education at Utøya
  • local aquarium 
  • Norwegian Youth Entrepreneurship 
  • Green flag
  • United Nations
  • Lektor2programmet
  • Seabins
  • Ski beekeeping association