At Isaac Newton Academy our aim is to equip every student with the knowledge, learning power and character necessary for success at university and beyond. The BRIDGES framework is integral to developing learning power and is key to supporting students to reach their potential.
“We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” Isaac Newton
The BRIDGES characteristics are habits of mind or learning traits that develop character and learning power and enable us to grow into well-rounded individuals and resilient learners, both of which we need if we are to continue to be ‘life-long learners’.
The BRIDGES wheel below illustrates the seven habits/characteristics that are developed; each habit is focussed on through a weekly cycle. This means each habit is featured more than once during the year, allowing for a greater depth of understanding for the children as they re-visit each characteristic a number of times and giving them plenty of opportunity to demonstrate and exercise the habit throughout the year.
An assembly is held every Monday and Friday morning. The Monday assembly is an opportunity to introduce the children to the BRIDGES habit of the week. A story or other stimulus is used to reinforce and support the children’s understanding of the characteristic. It is always made clear to the children how they can demonstrate and exercise the characteristic throughout the week and what their teachers will be looking for. The teachers will award a certificate to one pupil in their class who they feel has successfully demonstrated the BRIDGES habit for that week. The certificates are given out to the children during the Friday assembly, with the teacher explaining why the child has been chosen.
The BRIDGES wheel is displayed in every classroom as well as other key areas of the primary building, with the focus of the week also on display. The display of the wheel etc. helps to remind everyone in the primary what our focus for a particular week is. Throughout the week the staff will refer to the BRIDGES habit for the week at every given opportunity with the children. All lessons plans make explicit links to the BRIDGES focus of the week, always looking for ways to help the children exercise and develop the habit.
The Head of Primary writes a weekly article to feature in the Principal’s newsletter. The newsletter is available to parents online and additional hard copies can be found in the main reception area. The BRIDGES characteristic for the coming week is introduced to the parents/carers along with ideas on how to support the focus habit at home; this gives both the school and parents/carers a shared language with which to support the children’s BRIDGES development.
The weekly newsletter also shares with parents/carers details of which children have been awarded the ‘Headteacher’s Habits Award’ during the Friday assembly, again with the reason why.