WELCOME TO OUR COMMUNITY
Four years ago, I stepped upon the Bixby campus for the first time as part of a visit on behalf of the Association of Colorado Independent Schools. Instantly, I could feel that this school was unlike any other I had previously visited. Upon entering the preschool, I watched young children laughing freely, exploring, and creating. In the elementary program, I noticed unusually small groups of students, about six, being taught by individual teachers who were experts in their subject matter. Instead of one “homeroom” teacher being responsible for the majority of instruction, students traveled from teacher to teacher and learned, for example, science not from a teacher who just taught the subject, but from an actual scientist who also loved children. I had not ever before witnessed that kind of deep, individualized, intellectual critical thinking by students in such a consistent manner.
I glanced out of a second story window, my eyes landing upon a playground that was designed and constructed by one of Bixby’s founders. On this unique cross between a ropes course and elaborate labyrinth, children were taking calculated risks and solving problems as they attempted to get from one side to the other without touching the ground or by navigating the maze with friends that seemed to span several grade levels and ages. Lunch, served to all, was a delectable homemade meal brimming with organic vegetables from the school garden. At this school teachers were eating alongside the children at the same tables and the humming of eating, talking and laughter permeated the space.
Discovering that the founders also believed in free time (as in the level of adult interference in children’s lives impedes their ability to develop independence, self-regulation, and creativity), I watched a small group of students read, build, and think during the 45-minutes of free time that was built into their schedules. The Bixby founders also found that physical exercise, particularly the cross-body motions of swimming, was key to childhood. Thus, they built a pool and swimming is part of the curriculum and school day for every Bixby student.
Though these characteristics were impressive on their own, what was most engaging to me was the spirit of Bixby. There was a joy and beauty innate in every interaction. I watched an incredibly talented teacher notice that a 4th grade boy was not singing at lunch with his peers. Quietly, as the children were walking to the playground, the teacher walked alongside and gently inquired, “I noticed that you weren’t singing and I was just wondering what you were thinking.” No shame, just genuine care that everything was okay for this student. In most schools, no one would have even noticed.
Bixby has an amazingly active alumni network. As these doctors, entrepreneurs, attorneys, educators, artists, scientists, and technology trailblazers reminisce about their elementary days, they all credit Bixby with being the fundamental experience that fostered their success and ability to find and follow their paths passionately and competently. At Bixby, you will find an authenticity, dynamism, and reverence to childhood that rarely exists in our world today. I invite you to come and experience the magic for yourself.
Beth Heller Suitor
Head of School
Bixby School serves preschool through elementary level children and their families by integrating academic, artistic, physical and social development in a small community setting. Our mission is to cultivate critical thinking; promote independence and self-confidence; instill empathy, respect and responsibility; and inspire a love of learning.
OUR CORE BELIEFS
- Children learn best in a safe environment: physically, emotionally, and intellectually.
- Respect is the cornerstone of such an environment; respect among students, between students and teachers, and among all members of our community including parents and staff.
- Children are viewed and responded to as individuals having their own unique abilities, interests,
- Children are encouraged to take responsibility for their choices and actions.
- Bixby encourages and fosters the natural curiosity and intrinsic joy of learning in children.
- Bixby cultivates critical thinking skills and facilitates the mastery of underlying concepts, rather than simply imparting academic content.
- Children learn best in small groups with extensive opportunities for individual attention and interaction.
- Academic achievement is realized in a non-graded, noncompetitive setting where children are intrinsically motivated to learn.
- Committed, well-qualified teachers are fundamental to the success of our school.
- Support for families and continuity for children is provided with an extended day program that builds upon the rich learning environment and social setting.
BIXBY AND PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION
Bixby’s mission and core beliefs reflect our commitment to progressive education. Progressive education is experiential, active learning that honors the developmental ages and stages of physical, social, and cognitive development. Students at Bixby School take an active part in their learning and develop the initiative and self-direction that will prove vital no matter where the future takes them.
Although progressive education enjoys a long and rich history, its principles have never been more relevant as we prepare students for the 21st century. The progressive approach to education facilitates skill-building and deep conceptual understanding; thus, it is a rich and rigorous approach to learning.
At Bixby, students are encouraged to think both creatively and analytically as they learn and solve problems. They are often asked to work collaboratively, so they also learn how to be part of an effective team. We recognize that students are part of many communities, and we prepare them to make positive contributions to the world.
- Knowing each student deeply as an individual and community member
- Providing hands-on learning experiences in small classes with talented teachers
- Engaging academics with a focus on critical thinking and problem solving.
- Education as path to the lifelong joy of learning through curiosity, nurture,community, challenge and family/school collaboration.
- For more program details such as curriculum offerings, assessment practices and our ways to teach and learn please visit: Elementary Program, Preschool Program, Summer Program; please also visit our classroom blog and follow us on Facebook