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Curriculum at Bridges

"The environment must be a living one, directed by a higher intelligence, arranged by an adult who is prepared for his mission."

For more than a century, the Montessori educational method, based on the ground-breaking work of Dr. Maria Montessori, has been respected worldwide. Dr. Montessori recognized the child’s innate need for individualized, sequenced learning designed around successive and critical development stages. Through careful observation of children, she created an educational approach based on a child’s natural approach to learning that progresses through phases of curiosity, inquiry, comprehension, and personal development.

Dr. Montessori believed that each person has an intrinsic talent which, when fulfilled, is the individual's essential contribution to life and the community. Children are viewed as competent learners motivated to make choices that lead to mastery of their bodies, their minds, and their environment. Each child is respected as a unique individual and as an important member of the community. ‘Freedom within limits’ leads children to responsible choices, and to increased self-discipline and improved self-esteem.

The Bridges Montessori classroom is thoughtfully designed to encourage self-directed exploration and maximize learning experiences. It provides a carefully prepared, aesthetically pleasing environment characterized by an orderly arrangement of sequential learning materials that are developmentally appropriate and naturally appealing to children. Each subject area has hands-on, experiential, and self-correcting materials that spark the child’s innate curiosity to learn.

To facilitate this unique educational experience, teachers of the Montessori approach undergo very specific education and training. Montessori teachers prepare and adapt the environment to match children's readiness and needs both for each age group and for each individual child. Additionally, they are trained to be keen observers of children in order to time and optimize lessons or activities to make the most of learning moments.

The Bridges Montessori curriculum incorporates the following unique characteristics. Read more…

  • Three-Year Cycle — A mixed age-grouping revolves around a three-year cycle, providing children an opportunity to learn from each other, to act as role models for learning, and to respond to their natural drive to work. This stimulating, cooperative atmosphere allows the children to develop at their individual rate over the three-year period, and to take each subject of study to a deeper level of understanding with each year.
  • Sensitive Periods — Applying her expertise in neuroscience, Dr. Montessori was the first to design an educational system that recognizes that there are certain times that are optimal for a child to develop a particular skill. The Montessori method’s goal is to match the appropriate instruction to the individual child's sensitive period for skill mastery.
  • Prepared Environment —  Designed with the child in mind, the learning environment is beautiful, child-sized, and thoughtfully arranged. This includes a full array of developmentally appropriate activities and uniquely designed materials that intrigue children at each evolving sensitive period. The outdoor environment stimulates interaction with the natural world while planting the seeds for scientific inquiry.
  • Materials —  Montessori-designed educational materials and teacher-developed activities encourage sensory exploration of the world. They help children develop concentration, observation, and assessment skills. The use of self-correcting materials promotes independent learning, while the sequential order (advancing in degree of difficulty and abstraction) encourages children to reach higher levels of learning.
  • Independence —  All materials and activities are designed to inspire age-appropriate independence, creating a small society of capable, independent learners working together. During sensitive periods of development, the teacher provides direct instruction. After that, the child begins to work with the materials independently.
  • Teachers as Observers — Through observation and attention to sensitive periods of development, teachers guide each child through the curriculum by introducing concepts and materials in individual and small-group lessons. Children are then encouraged to practice and refine skills through repetition. Introduction of new challenges occurs when the child is ready to progress to the next phase of learning. As children grow at their own pace, consecutive lessons are presented and additional materials are used to explore ideas more intensely.
  • Big Picture Focus — The Montessori curriculum is described as "cosmic," meaning that it is a comprehensive, integrated design that successively builds on prior educational exposure, creating breadth and depth of knowledge.