Pictured above, the Junior High students are acting out the famous balcony scene from Romeo & Juliet as part of their Shakespeare studies, as well as playing the part of the Founding Fathers of Confederation in their session work. Our Junior High students can often be found enjoying themselves through active games, role play, and group work. Current research shows that keeping play, creativity, and joy in the classroom helps to drastically reduce mental health problems like depression and anxiety in teens, as outlined in the following article in Time Magazine. More than 100 years ago Dr. Montessori also recognized the importance of “role – play” for adolescents. Around age 12 students enter into their third plane of development, entering a period in which their focus switches from mental to social independence. During this time students are using all of their prior knowledge to form themselves. As they develop, they begin to query who they are as a person and how they fit into society. All of this questioning requires adolescents to try on different roles in order to see how they fit. This is just some of the internal work of teens. Luckily, our teachers understand how this critical formation period works and have set up a program that takes their stage of development into consideration, helping them not only advance in their academic studies, but have fun at it too!