The seventh and eighth grade students of Millhopper Montessori Middle School spend one week each year interning in various classroom settings or in the business community. Community outreach fulfills many of the developmental needs of adolescents, like learning how to internalize knowledge, refine communication skills, and enhance self-esteem. Last year, the seventh grade students completed their internships in one of the MMS Kindergarten or Elementary classes and the eighth grade students completed their internships in a community business of their choice.
Seventh graders completed their internships in one of the MMS Kindergarten or Elementary classes. They were responsible for various classroom assignments, such as reading to students, or having students read to them, helping with math questions, or overseeing seasonal craft projects. Classroom teachers appreciated the help and interning student experienced the role of “teacher” for the week.
The eighth grade students interned at local businesses, choosing some very interesting sites to complete their internships: Swallowtail Farms, Terrace Health and Rehabilitation Center, North-South Studios, Raymond James Financial, Sweet Dreams, the Cardiovascular Institute of Central Florida, Santa Fe Teaching Zoo, Health Steps Pediatrics, UF Department of Animal Services, Gamesville Tabletop, Giggle Magazine, and Laniakea Montessori School.
All of the employers were very positive with their evaluations of the middle school students, especially pointing out the students’ high level of responsibility and their desire to help where ever needed. Many employers also commented that the time length of the internship project, one week, gave the students a better opportunity to experience the different aspects of a business environment.
Overall, internships were very successful. All of the middle school students made positive contributions to their internship sites and, in return, gained a sense of what will be expected of them when they enter the working environment.