Awakening spiritual attachment to our common home
St. Catherine’s owns three acres and additional property in the Japhet Community, a pastoral enclave in Houston’s Greater Fifth Ward. Just five minutes from downtown Houston, the land is next to Japhet Creek, a mile-long tributary that feeds into Buffalo Bayou.
The Japhet campus inspires the spiritual formation and intellectual development of adolescents and provides our students, families, and friends with a pastoral gathering place to study, work, and practice living in community.
St. Catherine’s Montessori is dedicated to developing the Japhet campus in response to its vision and the needs of the people, place, and environment Japhet serves.
St. Catherine’s commits…
…to evolve this campus in harmony with our Japhet neighbors and the surrounding 5th Ward community.
…to operate sustainably.
…to embody diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice principles.
…to implement Dr. Maria Montessori’s pedagogy of place.
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“The calm surroundings, the silence, the wonders of nature satisfy the need of the adolescent mind for reflection and meditation.” - Dr. Maria Montessori
Since 2017, Japhet has provided our Adolescent Community students the opportunity to experience land-based learning as envisioned by Dr. Maria Montessori – delving into nature-related subjects and studying the relationship between nature and the human society around it. Montessori called the adolescent erdkinder; “children of the earth.” She observed a dramatic shift from childhood through a number of characteristics unique to adolescence - physical changes in their bodies, strong emotional experiences, the need for experiential learning, and the drive for self discovery. This calls for an equally strong shift toward a style of education that is hands-on and project based. Montessori found that working on the land introduces nearly limitless opportunities for scientific and historical studies - what we call Occupations and Humanities in the AC. Japhet Campus meets those needs, as the environment fosters creativity, independence, and self-confidence in the adolescent as they practice adulthood.
In 2023, St. Catherine's is taking an exciting step in evolving Japhet Campus to better serve the needs of our Adolescent Community, provide unique outdoor educational opportunities for our High School and Lower School students, and give our greater SCM community a pastoral gathering place. Renovations to the main house and construction of a new outdoor classroom will give us a prepared environment of flexible indoor and outdoor space for all ages. The kitchen can become a place to make soap, clean and process eggs, and cook meals for the community. Rooms will transform for lessons, community meetings, or research. All students will find quiet spaces to focus and recharge. The outdoor classroom will give us even more space for meetings and lessons, and can transform into a stage or a dance floor, as needed.
We anticipate project completion by spring 2024. Stay tuned for updates!