“The child can only develop fully by means of experience in his environment. We call such experience ‘work’.” (The Absorbent Mind, p. 88)
Designed to give our students real-life work experience in a controlled setting, the WMPCS 9th grade work program allows the students to work to and earn a computer to own. Funded by the WMPCS BoT since 2014, the program has allowed over 50 students to work for their own computer.
“He does it with his hands, by experience, first in play and then through work. The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence.” (The Absorbent Mind, p. 25)
We provide the students the opportunity to understand the value of time and effort that fosters their journey into adulthood. Their work is varied, as it is in life: from copying to digging irrigation ditches, the students are exposed to a plethora of work experiences.
“Happiness is not the whole aim of education. A man must be independent in his powers and character; able to work and assert his mastery over all that depends on him.” (The Absorbent Mind, p. 170)
While working at the school over the summer, the students make the decision to join the program. The adolescents choose to work over the summer; they choose to work towards a computer that meets their needs; their parents choose to allow them to participate in an experience that fosters teamwork, relationship building and an understanding of what it is to be an adult.
“It is through appropriate work and activities that the character of the child is transformed. Work influences his development in the same way that food revives the vigor of a starving man. We observe that a child occupied with matters that awaken his interest seems to blossom, to expand, evincing undreamed of character traits; his abilities give him great satisfaction, and he smiles with a sweet and joyous smile.” (San Remo Lectures, p. 28)
Since its inception, the students have built bridges, painted classrooms, installed vinyl floors, built walls, scanned materials, researched school programs, made Montessori work for the lower levels and assisted with the school’s summer reading program. Under careful and direct supervision, we are guiding the students through a vast array of work activities.
“The chief symptom of adolescence is a state of expectation, a tendency towards creative work and a need for the strengthening of self-confidence.” (From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 63)
As the students encounter different work activities, they learn what they are capable of, what they enjoy and why they might want to focus on different fields in high school.
The 9th Grade Summer Work Program is funded through the WMPCS Day School and Before and After School Program and is not funded through the charter school or by any Federal, State or Local funds. The computers that are purchased are able to be used at home and at school. Students who do not participate in the program have access to computers in the Secondary II level during school hours.