Walter T. Bergen Middle School
225 Glenwild Avenue
Bloomingdale, NJ 07403
To report your child absent, please call 973-838-6390
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Statement of Philosophy
The Walter T. Bergen School education community resolves that our philosophy of middle grades education will be shaped by the understanding that children maturing through the developmental period of early adolescence possess a unique profile of characteristics and needs. They require a child-centered, nurturing educational environment that is designed to address the needs of the emerging adolescent. In order to create an effective middle school education program, we believe we must be committed to ensuring that every aspect of the middle school experience be child-centered and early adolescent-focused in its conception and implementation.
The Child-Centered Middle School Concept
Research indicates that early adolescents are characterized by extremely short attention spans, rapidly changing interests, intense curiosity about themselves, the world around them, and their place in that world; a powerful need for group acceptance and a sense of belonging; and a compelling need for compliance to peer group norms. Early adolescents are also driven by a powerful desire to be successful, and to be perceived by others as "competent", and "as doers and producers". They also possess a strong need for group identity and belonging which satisfies their craving for success and recognition, and supports their curiosity by providing opportunities for exploration.
The early adolescent is best served by a child-centered, flexible approach to learning that is structured, but not rigid. Furthermore, the approach must be organized and must progress in a logical manner. It is imperative that the wide range of learning styles, needs, and unique characteristics of students is addressed.
The concept of "middle schools" or "middle grades education" is founded upon significant research in the field of child psychology and intellectual development, as well as educational pedagogy which holds that early adolescents are engaged in a very unique and distinct stage of cognitive and social development. The research holds that these young people, between the ages of 10 and 14 years, require a uniquely tailored educational environment and instructional approaches in order to maximize their academic success.