The Bridges Academy began in September 1977 as After-Care Centers. The goal of the After-School Enrichment Program is to provide a wholesome, safe, educationally and culturally stimulating environment for school aged children between the hours of school dismissal and the hour of their parents’ arrival. It offers small group and occasional individual tutoring for students in need of remediation during a daily homework/study hour. Enrichment activities in the arts, organized games and sports, independent study and research, skill reinforcement and after school clubs are available to the students until they are called for by an authorized care giver. The After-school Study and Adventure Program is prepared for children from first through eighth grade or six to fourteen years old. It is our contention that the establishment of constructive after-school habits in the early years will carry throughout the teen period, thus insulating the child from idle boredom with its consequent hostile acting out.
The after-school program “Bridges” education and child care and fosters the spirit of cooperation between home and school.
The second component of The Bridges Academy evolved in June of 1978. After Care’s Summer Fun Camp started with one van and 25 campers. Through a delightful summer of experimenting, working and playing, and all around good times, the Summer Fun Camp became a mobile day camp that provides its participants with a wide variety of enrichment activities and exposures that promote the growth of open-minded, well-rounded, well-behaved personalities. Through the mobile medium, boredom is avoided and the campers are kept excited and stimulated all summer long with Library/Study Hour, Personal and Social Awareness, Life Skills, Games and Sports, Arts and Crafts, Field Trips, Overnight Camping and sometimes American Sign Language. The Summer Fun Camp has expanded and now includes many activity areas – Swimming Lessons, Cultural Music and Dance, Study. While the Summer Fun Camp is geared to the second through eighth grader, a similar, slower paced Jr. Campers’ Summer Enrichment program is provided for preschoolers to first graders. Since 1991, this program has also offered SOARE – Summer Opportunities for Advancement Reinforcement and Enrichment. SOARE provides a half day of intense academics concentrating on reading, math language arts and writing skills.
The Summer Fun Camp “Bridges” school year studies and summer recreation/relaxation, eliminating traditional summer regression.
Upon securing its own facilities in 1979, After – Care, with an expanded focus, became Academic Enrichment Center and embarked on the development of its most vital entity, the Pre-School Foundations. Now, as The Bridges Academy Pre-School, it continues to offer formal education designed to equip the child with the skills needed for success in public, private or parochial school. It is our belief that this formal education of the child should begin at two years of age, after two years in the home or a home like setting, where he/she has received the loving and nurturing so necessary for the development of trust and confidence in others as well as himself. This development, in conjunction with complete toilet training and weaning, frees the child from the demands of babyhood and opens his mind to new worlds – the worlds of written communication, numerical understanding and social interaction.
To this end, the primary focuses of the preschool curricula are on the development of pre-reading and language skills, through the use of methods found most effective for individual groups of children; and the development of citizenship and character through lessons in science, social studies and foreign language. Finally, to assure the growth of a well-rounded child, freedom of expression through physical activities, music and art is encouraged. These goals are approached through the framework of curricula which emphasize positive mental attitudes and positive images of self.
The Pre-School Foundations program “Bridges” a child from infancy to independence.
The most challenging of The Bridges Academy’s programs is the grade school. It began as the Academic Enrichment Center Preparatory School in the 1981 school year with first grade. AEC Prep added second grade in 1982 and continued with the third grade in 1983. The Prep School has the simplest of goals – excellence and achievement through skill mastery in accelerated curricula. These goals are met by satisfying all state requirements for public and non-public schools; by maintaining an average 1 to 12 adult/student ratio in order to afford students frequent opportunities for small group and individualized instruction; by integrating and interrelating supplementary subject matter so as to reinforce basic skills; and by molding good character and citizenship through social and cultural exposures.
Responding to the requests – indeed, the demands – of both parents and students, the elementary level was extended in 1988 with an expansion to include fourth through sixth grades. The intermediate level continued in 1991 with seventh grade and concluded with grade eight in 1992. In 2008, a new state of the art classroom building will keep us ON THE GROW!
The Preparatory Academy “Bridges” elementary educational foundations
and secondary academic success.
An occasional program of the Bridges Academy is interesting, unique and rather novel. The Academy has provided child care services for conventions. Bridges makes its staff and facility available to organizations convening in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. The primary function of The Bridges Academy during conferences and conventions is to provide wholesome, safe, enriching and creative care for the children of conference participants. The goals of the Academy’s Convention Child Care Service are to assure that each child grows politically in understanding the nature, the cause and/or the purpose of the conference or convention in which the parent is participating; that each child grows socially in understanding people from different geographic, socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds, through small and large group interaction in both work and play settings; that each child grows historically in understanding the United States Government through visits to the major seats of government in and around Washington, DC; that each child demonstrates overall growth to parents and other convention participants in a presentation at the end of the conference (time permitting); and that each child thoroughly enjoys a visit with The Bridges Academy family.
Our Convention Child Care Service “Bridges” the professions of parents with the priorities of children.
Finally, at the dawning of the new millennium, the Bridges program completed the childhood cycle with the addition of the Bridges Babies Infant/Toddler Center. Here, children from six months to three years old get the loving and cuddling that only grandmothers can give. There is also wonderful developmental stimulation to usher children through all the expected milestones and beyond. Encouraging the development of language through babbling, echolalia, words and sentences is a major focus. Potty training at each child’s individual pace assures an easy transition.
The Infant/Toddler Center “Bridges” the infant to preschool.