The Bridge Year for 5th and 6th Graders

A gateway program for young learners

Download curriculum for Bridge (PDF doc)

The Bridge Class:

  • is a gateway program for young learners
  • attracts a diversity of exceptionally curious and strong, independent learners and collaborative thinkers;
  • respects the emotional and educational development needs of fifth and sixth grade boys;
  • includes boys who have completed either the fourth or fifth grade;
  • implements the latest research on boys, learning, and curriculum design;
  • makes connections across all disciplines in the curriculum;
  • integrates hands-on learning, applied instruction, and challenging classroom assessments;
  • learns under the lead of one full-time, experienced educator who reports directly to Head of School; and
  • fosters strong community between students and families in a small class environment.


Seven Hills School builds on early successes to move into new areas of study. This approach is based on current, important and accepted research in the area, such as:

  • Nancie Atwell’s Middle Classroom Methods
  • Cornell University’s Note-Taking System for the Middler
  • Michael Gurian’s Boys and Girls Learn Differently
  • Harvard University’s Multiple Intelligence Theory
  • University of Chicago’s Sphere Learning in the Middle Years
  • National Society of Experiential Education’s Service Learning Model
  • Incorporating Introduction to Philosophy Studies

Short-and-long term memory:

  • Daily exercises and game practice in the rudiments of reading, writing, and mathematics are implemented.

Math and Logical Thinking:

  • Mathematics Level – Grade 6
    • Applied Math & Problem-Solving Focus
  • Math and Science Labs
  • Living Science Exploration
    • Smithsonian, 3 Volume Series by Joy Hakim (2003-2008)
  • Introduction to Physics and Chemistry
  • Application and Experiments

Kinesthetic and Inter/Intra Personal and Spiritual/Natural:

  • Service Learning Integration
    • Central VA Foodbank, SPCA and other neighborhood service activities.
  • James River Curriculum
    • Monthly River Days
  • Exploring the Mind – Philosophy Rocks


  • Language Arts
    • Genre Study
    • Creative Writing
    • Publication
    • Reading Labs
    • Writing Labs
  • Global and Leadership Studies
    • Current World Events
    • Cultural Studies
    • Leadership Studies
    • Shared Values
  • Future Problem Solving
    • Case Studies & Future Scenarios
    • Underlying Problem & Action Plan
    • Analysis

Visual/Spatial and Artistic

  • Visual Arts
  • Designing Overbrook Together
  • Art, Design, and Function
  • Student-Created Productions

Assessments and Testing

  • In-Class Assessments
  • Written (Individualized and Standard)
  • Oral
  • Experiential
  • Arts-Focused
  • Quarterly Goal Setting and Self-Assessment
  • Year-Long Assessments
  • Learning Style Inventory
  • Competitive Team Testing: FPS