Teaching Practices

Hands-on projects and active teamwork to generate ideas and find solutions are the hallmarks of Bertschi instruction both in and out of the classroom. Learn more about our continually evolving teaching practices.


Our Pedagogy

Bertschi School believes that students learn best when they are:

  • Safe and known in an inclusive community that values diverse perspectives,
  • Supported in developing social-emotional skills,
  • Provided academic choice and challenge at their “just right level,”
  • Engaged in meaningful work,
  • Encouraged to problem solve through inquiry, trial, and error,
  • Empowered to take risks and make change, and
  • Given opportunities to collaborate and dialogue with a diverse group of learners.

Over time, we guide students to develop a broadminded outlook that is supported by both skills and confidence.They are encouraged and encourage others. They feel positively about themselves and model good citizenship in a global community. They do their part as good stewards of our planet and inspire others to do their part. They each know that every individual can make a difference.


Integration: An Inter-Connected World

Bertschi's curriculum makes connections cross all disciplines, from math to art to social studies. Our resource teachers are experts in their fields, and help students at all levels understand the interdisciplinary applications of different areas of study.

Collaboration: Sharing our Knowledge

Teachers across all grade levels work together to stay at the forefront of teaching, recently revising revise the scope and sequence of Bertschi's social-emotional learning curriculum.

Differentiation: Working at the "Just Right" Level

Classroom assistants and Learning Services teachers work with smaller groups to support mathematics at many levels.

Collegiality: Modeling Life-Long Learning

Our teachers' growth mindset is demonstrated to their commitment to ongoing professional development, continuing education, and a self-developed peer observation and growth system.

Why?

Our world is a blend of arts, science, math, creativity, movement and continual learning at all ages. Bertschi teachers work closely with resource specialists to create projects that help our kids learn and explore in an inter-disciplinary, integrated “real world” environment.

How?

For example: In an integrated curriculum of sustainability and social studies, art, music, and math, our second graders explore public markets around the world. The project includes field trips and lessons demonstrating the cycle of local food production and distribution. In a culminating event, students hold the annual “Bertschi Public Market”—selling produce and crafts while buskers provide entertainment. All proceeds benefit the Pike Place Market Foundation.

Why?

Bertschi School believes that students benefit when teachers work together to improve their craft and share instructional practices.

How?

Each school year Bertschi teachers commit to reviewing the scope and sequence of different curricula and teaching practices. Most recently, faculty worked collaboratively to review and enhance their social-emotional learning curriculum so that our students learn self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship skills. Additionally, our teachers share their expertise nationally and internationally at workshops and conferences.

Why?

We want to work with your child at the skill level that is “just right” for them. That level may change from unit to unit, or from book to book—depending on informal and formal assessments by our classroom teachers and learning specialists.

How?

With two classroom teachers and a teaching assistant in each grade, our low student:teacher ratio allows us to teach mathematics in small groups, meeting each child at the right place and moving at the right pace for their development as a mathematician. These groups are fluid, so children remain appropriately challenged and supported across the varying units each school year brings.

Why?

We believe schools are places of learning and growth for adults as well as students. Continual adult learning, stretching, and improving ensures an inspired environment and creates a model of life-long learning.

How?

Bertschi School strives to be a community with a growth mindset. To this end, the faculty recently created and piloted a peer observation and growth system. Teachers host their colleagues in their classrooms for an observation and debrief using a protocol that allows for feedback and growth.

Why?

Bertschi School believes children thrive in an environment where they see themselves reflected in the literature and content that surrounds them. Growth comes when students learn from and celebrate perspectives that are different from their own lived experience.

How?

As part of our commitment to a global community, Bertschi School’s library and classroom collections are created, and regularly updated, to ensure that books represent the depth and diversity of the world. Our curriculum is supported by fiction and non-fiction books that provide “mirrors” so children may see themselves reflected in the content, and “windows” so that they may view the lives and experiences different from their own. Our teachers engage annually in discussions and reflections of identity, diversity, justice, and action so that they bring continue to build culturally-responsive teaching skills.