The Ecology Learning Center’s Bridge Program is a three-day-a-week program for homeschool families.
Designed for 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade students, the Bridge Program works with the Ecology Learning Center to provide a bridge between learning at home and entering a high school environment.
The Bridge Program’s academic curriculum is designed to provide support for homeschool families. Our goal is to ensure that children feel prepared and able to participate in a rigorous high school setting. The skill-building and content are integrated into a joyful learning environment. We want children to experience the sense of community and placed-based, multi-sensory learning that is the charter of the Ecology Learning Center. At the same time as building basic skills, like report writing and algebra, we take the children out into the community and surrounding wilderness to deepen their learning with hands-on experience. We believe that students, who feel confident, empowered, and motivated, have a much higher chance of thriving as they move into high school.
8.30 Community Building - Morning Tea
9.00 Community Building - Drama
12.30 Art/Creative Writing
3.15 School close
Note: the Bridge works with participating families to adapt the curriculum to best meet their needs.
The annual fee for the school is $4,500. That is $1,500 per trimester.
While this price is still significantly less than most local private schools, we recognize that it could still be a stretch for some families. To this end, we have raised funds to create a scholarship program. Please contact us to find out more about the scholarships we offer. We aim to ensure that cost does not prevent families from joining the program.
Note: There is a limit to the funding that we have available. So, if you would like to be considered for a scholarship for 2022/23, please do so as soon as possible. Funds are allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The school runs three days each week: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
Trimester Dates: Sept 29 - Dec 1, Dec 6 - Mar 9, and Mar 14 - May 23
Our Coordinator & Instructors
Esther Williamson - Coordinator
Esther graduated from Oxford University with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Sciences, where she specialized in primate behavior. She then spent the next ten years working in the field of primate conservation both in the UK and South America.
All this changed when she started a family and the needs of her children took over and she became a full-time homemaker. With the encouragement of a friend, she decided to homeschool her kids and so began her new career as a teacher. She has worked with multiple families over the years to create different homeschool co-ops, first in California and then in Boston, Massachusetts. She found herself teaching multiple different classes to all sorts of different children, covering topics such as math, history, science, drama and the arts.
Like all the teachers at the Ecology Learning Center, she also has a love of the natural world and this passion has lead to many adventures: whether that be heading off to Northern Pakistan with the Royal Geographic Society to map uncharted valleys in the Karakoram ranges, hiking off-trial into the Australian bush with groups of students to search for hidden canyons, or traveling by boat into the Amazon rainforest to look for isolated locations to set up monkey rehabilitation sites.
Esther’s life-long love of learning has been a constant source of joy, and she is keen to share that love with her students at the Bridge Program.
Martin (Marty) Maines - Instructor
Marty is a licenced teacher with fourteen years of experience. He is endorsed in science, but has also taught English, math, rock climbing and outdoor skills, college agriculture, sociology, and sustainability. Martin homeschooled his own children, who are now ages seven and ten. His lifetime achievements include co-owning an organic farm, building his own house, sailing a twenty-three foot boat to Alaska. He has also run the 100 mile wilderness and hiked from Mexico to the Arctic Ocean. He believes that the best way to learn is through play and experience. Students will engage with their environment to create an awareness of place and purpose. Martin cultivates a supportive and caring learning atmosphere where students gain the confidence to take flight.
Alex Koch - Instructor
Alex teaches English and History. He holds a B.S. in Parks and Forest Resources and an M.S. in Environmental Studies & Sustainability, both from Unity College. Alex is a 12th generation Mainer with a passion for education, literacy, and history. He formerly taught Ecology at Wayfinder Schools in New Gloucester, Maine. Alex is on the Boards of Directors at Unity Barn Raisers, Board President at Unity Public Library, and Secretary at Maine Woods Forever. He has published poetry and essays and spends his free time reading, gardening, and exploring the state of Maine.
Fill out this quick form to express interest in the Ecology Bridge Program and we will be in touch!