Bridge School adding new programs, teachers for 2017-2018

MIDDLEBURY — Bridge School, an independent elementary school in Middlebury, is starting the school year with some new employees and programs that, school officials said, expand its dedication to creativity and the arts, outdoor education, and innovative, student-driven learning.
This year, community collaboration is a unifying focus throughout Bridge’s programs; the school said it will get students out in the community, and open its doors to provide space for the entire Addison County community to gather, play and learn.
Each student will participate in Bridge’s new outdoor education curriculum, spearheaded by new teacher Jennifer Grilly. She comes to Bridge from Bath, Maine, where she was assistant director of Wilderness Programs at Hyde School. Grilly will create three seasonal curriculums — fall, winter and spring — and Bridge students will be out exploring and learning wilderness skills in the Green Mountains all year.
Also new is Nikki Juvan, a well-known leader of children’s theater camps and actress in Town Hall Theater productions. She will lead Bridge’s creativity and arts programs, which will expand this year. Juvan will deepen and extend Bridge’s devotion to helping each child see his or herself as a unique and creative individual through expanding the arts and drama program. Each student at Bridge already participates in 45 minutes of art education every day. Juvan will continue this tradition of bringing arts into school, as well as take students outside of school to experience theater in Middlebury and Burlington.
Bridge has a new Spanish language curriculum. Each student will receive 70 minutes of Spanish class per week in groups of eight-10 students. Spanish language proficiency is becoming an essential skill in the United States. Furthermore, learning Spanish will give students a new understanding and window into migrant dairy workers, a significant aspect of the Addison County community.
Bridge School is expanding its offerings and opportunities for community connection beyond the typical school day, as well. Bridge will be opening its doors this winter for “Cabin Fever Play Days” — a time for any and all local families to come play in the gym, skate on the rink, and sled on the playground. Additionally, Bridge has plans for continuing to offer a venue for local parents to come together and discuss salient topics in parenting. Look out for evening film-screenings and panel discussions about topics such as childhood nutrition, nature deficit disorder, and more. 
Bridge School is state-approved, independent, K-6 school housed in a renovated dairy barn off Exchange Street in Middlebury. Teachers collaboratively create Bridge School’s hands-on, project-based curriculum, drawing on innovative pedagogy as well as state and national standards. Classes are taught in a multi-grade format to recognize children’s individual pace for learning. Academic class sizes range between 8-12 students. Bridge School’s educational philosophy is driven by four core values: Personal Excellence, Respect for Children, Engaged and Passionate Learners and Caring Community.
For more information visit bridgeschoolvermont.org.

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