"Establishing lasting peace is the work of education"
Teaching the values of empathy, service, and philanthropy may be the most important lesson we give our students while at Bridges Montessori. By teaching civic responsibility, children of all ages learn the value of being a contributing member of society. They see firsthand that they are able to strengthen the bonds within their own communities. Both recipients and students are transformed by the power of the service. Our peace education curriculum continues the experience through the years and allows us to extend our reach to the greater community.
Our rich history of service starts from an early age within the context of the multiage classroom. Children first learn how to care for one another, act as mentors, appreciate what makes us the same and different, and take responsibility for the younger students in the class.
Each year, every classroom commits to its own new service learning project. This may include a preprimary classroom establishing a relationship with residents of a retirement residence called "The Place”: visiting residents during various holidays and inviting residents to Bridges for a special tea where students prepare the tea, bake muffins, and serve their guests. Another preprimary class chose to work with the Humane Society, learned about the care of animals, and collected pennies throughout the year to donate. Elementary students have initiated a “Pennies for Peace” campaign to collect pennies for this important cause. Senior elementary students have worked at the Food Kitchen at a local church.
Our school-wide service learning project is to create a Bright Space™, a resource room in the new Transition Living Center. This critical service is being built by the Children’s Home Society for youth aging out of the foster care system. As of 2010, Bridges students have raised $5,000, which will be matched by the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children.