Frequently Asked Questions about The Bridge School
Is The Bridge School a Washington State approved school?
I have two children that are close in age; will they be in the same class?
We believe that there are unique benefits to multi-age classrooms including the ability for children to be taught by readiness-level and opportunities for mentorship among students. If your children are close in age, they may be in the same class at times. However, that doesn't mean that they will be spending all their time together, as children spend portions of the day in small groups depending on their social and academic development.
How is a cooperative elementary school different from a cooperative preschool?
Like many local cooperative preschools, The Bridge School uses a cooperative school model where parents regularly work in the classroom and run the business of the school. The choice to follow a cooperative model is independent of the curriculum and has been effectively used in a variety of schools for all ages including public education, Montessori schools and progressive models.
Our school uses an experiential, emergent approach that includes a variety of curriculum appropriate for the ages and needs of current students. Our goal is to provide an engaging learning environment that supports creativity, exploration and community building. Our program focuses on academics, leadership, community-building, social development and connecting to nature.
What does a typical day look like?
Each day, children are given opportunities to work with literacy and math skills, practice social skills and engage in hands-on, learning and fun. The day starts with morning meeting where students share information and prepare for the day ahead, then move into dedicated literacy and math instruction or studio thinking workshop. Recess and lunch are important socializing times and afternoons include art, music, Spanish, community speakers and field trips, multi-disciplinary projects and our Outdoors Explorers groups. Ongoing projects are based on student interests, extend academic skills and often incorporate science and art explorations.
How do you plan on connecting to the larger community?
Wednesday afternoons incorporate visitors from the community to speak on current topics of study or field trips into our local community, Seattle or beyond. The King County Library Book Mobile also visits our school regularly.
Where is The Bridge School located and what type of outdoor areas are the children able to access?
We are located in Normandy Park Towne Center in Normandy Park. This location includes a fenced outdoor play area and is in short walking distance to Marvista Park, where we have our mid-day recess every day.
What kind of assessment or testing do you do to ensure that a student is learning?
Our low student to adult ratio and focus on small group work allows teachers to know students individually. Student achievement is assessed in a variety of ways with an eye toward regular progress and skill development. Each student is tracked on a developmental continuum and running records are used to ensure students are being appropriately challenged in academic areas. Student work samples are examined and used to record their understanding of particular topics. In keeping with our philosophy of partnering with families to support student learning, we also draw upon the students and their families to assess how students are progressing.
Can my child be accepted into a public school after attending The Bridge School?
Acceptance into public school grades is primarily age-based.
In terms of readiness, our goal at The Bridge School is to help children develop a love of learning, age-appropriate learning skills and an ability to ask questions and seek answers. Instruction is based on developmentally appropriate practices—just as the public school system strives to do—and our main focus is to meet each child where they are both academically and socially. In doing this, we draw from a variety of sources including developmental continuums as well as state and district benchmarks.
Can my child access public school district resources even though they attend The Bridge School?
Yes. All children are eligible for services within their local school districts. Families should contact their district's Special Services department directly for exact directions on how to obtain needed services.
Do you require testing for kindergartners as part of the application process?
No, we believe that each child comes to us right where they need to be and we work with them to support and challenge them at an appropriate level. However, we do ask that families have their child's current teacher complete an evaluation form so that we have as much information as possible. (If an applicant has not had a prior teacher, we ask that another adult who knows your child well complete this evaluation). Academic ability has no bearing on admittance.
New students meet with a teacher before school starts for an informal assessment to determine where they are in their learning development and to provide parents an opportunity to ask questions.
What is the class size and how many spaces are available?
Our current student body includes thirty-six students ages five through nine. We will be adding 5th grade for the 2013-2014 school year and will add sixth grade in 2014-2015. We plan to admit eleven to fourteen kindergarten students for the upcoming school year.
Can we visit the school?
Yes. Please contact us to schedule an observation or if you have questions or requests for information.