Academic and Developmental Content Areas
The following areas of learning and development are incorporated within our approach:
English Language Arts
The English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum supports the development of children who are able to lead themselves and others through effective communication. The 9th Bridge School alumni can produce both written and oral expressions of ideas, opinions and experiences. Furthermore, he or she can gather and comprehend information from others, and think critically about the main ideas being conveyed. The ELA curriculum is woven throughout all subject areas to maximize exposure, intentional practice and mastery of literacy skills.
Language Comprehension & Thinking
At 9th Bridge School, the ELA program recognizes that reading is not simply about saying words accurately and fluently. We believe the purpose of learning to read is to simultaneously gain knowledge and enjoyment, which happens when the reader makes meaning of the words on each page.
9th Bridge School believes the development of literacy includes the ability to confidently generate ideas and communicate those ideas in written form. The ultimate is goal is to nurture the love of writing.
Children possess natural sense making, reasoning, and problem-solving abilities, which are inherently more complex than the thinking elicited by the rote learning of computational skills. At 9th Bridge School, explicit Mathematics instruction occurs within small groups but is also integrated into student-led projects to provide real-world context.
Our approach to the Sciences at 9th Bridge School reflects our general belief about education regardless of the subject area. We believe that children are born investigators and science instruction should connect to students’ interests and experiences. Students should engage in a continuous learning process that involves researching problems, predicting outcomes, analyzing results and making conclusions.
At 9th Bridge School, the Nevada State Standards for Social Studies are integrated across content areas using the project-based learning approach. In Elementary, students begin to explicitly learn about history, civics, geography, economics, and multicultural perspectives. Overtime, students develop social studies skills related to content literacy, media & technology literacy, historical analysis & interpretation, and civic participation.
The role of the teacher is to pose thought-provoking questions, help break big questions into manageable parts and push students to clarify their thoughts. Simply being told information does not guarantee the understanding of that information. This is why the development of critical thinking skills is at the foundation of the 9th Bridge School educational model and it is a cross-curricular priority at every grade level.
Social-emotional learning is the cornerstone of education at 9th Bridge School. Since its inception, the school has focused on developing socially aware and emotional intelligent beings. Social-emotional learning is taught explicitly within classrooms and is integrated throughout the day with academic curriculum. Students also have opportunities to practice these skills in actual situations and across a variety of settings. Social-emotional learning has been proven to lead to positive social behaviors, fewer conduct problems, less emotional distress and increased academic success.
Throughout the school year, teachers integrate various forms of art (visual, performance, etc.) within different content areas in authentic, student-centered ways. For example, students may decide to conduct a reader’s theatre to further their comprehension skills in literacy or they may create paintings to demonstrate knowledge of a geometry concept.
Teachers integrate music education into the classroom environment on a daily basis. Children express and represent what they observe, think, imagine, and feel through music. In addition, Preschool students and older participate in a Spanish-infused music class once each week led by our long-time music teacher, Ms. Katie.
9th Bridge School takes an integrated approach to physical education by providing movement and gross motor activities both inside and outside of the classroom. Each class, regardless of grade level, receives two recess periods each school day because we value brain-based research and the needs of the “whole child”. Students receive a balance of structured and unstructured play opportunities.
In the youngest students, the neuro-pathways of the brain are being strengthened early on with the teaching of American Sign Language (ASL). Starting in Pre-Kindergarten, students begin explicit Spanish language instruction with a dedicated Spanish teacher twice a week.
The gardening program at 9th Bridge School begins in Preschool. Students participate in a weekly gardening lesson led by a trained farmer from Green Our Planet, a local non-profit conservation organization that runs the largest school garden program in America.