Why bridge kindergarten?
For the past few years, we have become aware of a growing interest in bridge kindergarten programs in the Jewish community and beyond. Families are exploring different options for children who are born in the summer and fall who may benefit from another year before kindergarten.
How is bridge kindergarten different from traditional kindergarten?
Bridge kindergarten (Bridge K) is designed to give younger children the gift of time. Students born in the summer and fall are usually ready to leave preschool, but not always ready for the more structured learning environment of kindergarten. These students may benefit most from the continued opportunity for in-depth play combined with elements of structured learning. A Bridge K environment provides students with exposure to pre-academic, physical and social-emotional kindergarten readiness skills, while allowing significant opportunities for free play. Children born in the summer and fall who experience a Bridge K environment are much more likely to thrive with joy when they enter kindergarten the following year.
What does the OHDS bridge kindergarten look like?
Our Bridge K environment prioritizes play and includes many opportunities for social-emotional development, fine and gross-motor activities, and Hebrew and English language development for every kind of learner. Our mission is to help your child discover the joy of learning and to help each child develop a strong belief in his or her own abilities. We recognize that children are active learners and need ample opportunities for exploration. Our Bridge K teachers create a variety of activities designed to cultivate each child’s natural desire to explore and discover the world around them. Fred Rogers said that play is a child’s work and a natural way to learn: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning, but for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” Through the work of play, children learn about themselves and their world, and can develop to their full potential. Our goal is to provide children with the early foundation to prepare them socially, emotionally, and cognitively for the transition to kindergarten.
Children learn through hands-on experience, nurturing new skills that will stay with them throughout their academic careers:
- Students learn essential pre-literacy and pre-math skills through creative, play-based learning.
- Students develop social and self-regulation skills needed to succeed in school, such as interacting with teachers and peers in positive ways, solving problems with increasing independence, taking care of their classroom, and focusing attention.
- Students engage with age-appropriate activities, such as a dress-up area, puppet theater, play kitchen and library nook – to enhance their cognitive, social and motor development.
Bridge K curriculum
Rhythm: Each day has a particular focus: painting, baking, gardening, etc., and strikes a healthy balance between free play/structured learning, relaxed/energetic activity, and indoor/outdoor time. We will celebrate the rhythm of nature through stories, songs, and crafts tied to the seasons. These predictable daily and seasonal rhythms give children a sense of security and help them cultivate the capacities of resilience and self-regulation.
Movement: Movement is critical to the myelination of the brain, which promotes the development of sensory, motor, and cognitive functions required for academic readiness. Movement is also tied to social-emotional health, as it is through movement that children find themselves in space and learn to relate with those around them. In Bridge K, the children have plenty of time to explore fine and gross motor movements, both during circle time and in their outdoor play.
Imaginative Play: Our classroom features open-ended, natural materials–such as wood, seashells, wool, and beeswax–that nourish the senses and encourage children to bring the objects to life with their own imagination. This free imaginative play offers children an opportunity to imitate and transform activities of daily life, and to practice social skills, creative thinking and problem-solving.
Literacy: We build a rich foundation for literacy by singing songs and telling stories full of the beauty of language. Through repetitive exposure to language, children build brain pathways for phonological awareness, concentration, and memory. We prepare children for writing through activities that build fine motor skills and eye hand coordination, such as crayon drawing, watercolor painting, finger knitting, and beeswax modeling.
Math and Science: Early experiences in math and science come through concrete, everyday tasks such as cooking, setting the table, gardening, and sorting/classifying/ordering play objects. We spend a lot of time in nature, where the children develop an understanding for time and the seasons, as well as an experience of reverence for the natural world.
What is the teacher-to-student ratio in the OHDS Bridge K classroom?
The OHDS Bridge K has a 1:8 teacher-to-child ratio. This ratio gives us the ability to provide a high level of teacher support for building kindergarten readiness. A small student group also allows children to focus on a wealth of social-emotional skills including speaking and listening, interpersonal problem-solving and cooperative learning with peers.
Who qualifies for the Bridge K program?
Any child who will be turning five years old between September 1st and January 31st may apply to our Bridge K. If your child will turn five before September 1st and you feel s/he will benefit from Bridge K, we will consider him/her for our Bridge K program.
What is the OHDS Bridge K Tuition?
The tuition for the Bridge K day (8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.) is $15,900.
Is there flexible tuition for Bridge K?
Yes, our Bridge K program has flexible tuition. If you would like the school to evaluate your flexible tuition, please submit information to www.sssbynais.org.
Is aftercare available?
Aftercare is available until 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
Schedule a tour today by contacting Philippa Lichterman, admissions director: firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-531-8600 ext. 12.