The Bermuda Centre for Creative Learning (BCCL) began in 2015 and is a private school recognized by the Bermuda Ministry of Education for children beginning at age 6 who are struggling in the traditional school setting. Most students have been assessed and diagnosed with dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or other language-based learning differences. BCCL is currently the only school in Bermuda to enroll students who learn differently. All teachers are licensed by the Bermuda Educators Council.
BCCL's mission is to empower students, providing a personalized and flexible learning environment. that focuses on students social, emotional and academic needs. The BCCL Team understands that families may be faced with considerable stress due to the lack of options for their child and offer support where needed.
Best Teaching Practices
BCCL continually researches and applies evidence-based ‘best-teaching’ practices. They understand that teacher effectiveness ties directly to student learning. Students work in English and math small groups that focus on their individual skill level. Teachers personalize students' learning, continually tracking the concepts they retain, and students can move year levels when they are ready throughout the school year.
BCCL follows the U.K. National Curriculum and incorporates the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) and the International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC). The IPC and IMYC integrate core subjects through project-based learning. Read Naturally LIVETM reading intervention program, is used to increase reading fluency and comprehension. Doodle Maths, Doodle Tables and Doodle English are implemented in the curriculum as well.
BCCL teachers are trained in mindfulness and use this technique to teach students self- awareness and how to focus on their breathing when they feel anxious.
Morning Meeting, a part of the Responsive Classroom (RC), is included in the school day. This increases positive relationships and effective communication skills. Brain breaks are provided in between lessons, which allows students to reset, focus and retain concepts.
BCCL's physical education program includes daily PE classes at Victoria and Bernard’s Park and the National Tennis Stadium. Yoga sessions are provided once per week.
The use of these holistic approaches makes a tremendous difference in the behaviors of students, leading to healthy and positive school experiences.
Teaching Reading, Doing What Works
Reading is not a natural process, but one that must be taught explicitly and systematically. Structured literacy helps all children learn to read, but it’s extra helpful for children with dyslexia, who often have trouble with the basic skills of reading. Structured literacy helps children build a solid foundation so they can develop more advanced reading skills and includes:
• Systematic: Reading skills are taught in a logical order. Children must master the basics before moving on to more complex skills.
• Explicit: Teaching is clear and direct. There is no guesswork.
• Diagnostic: Teachers constantly assess students to make sure that they’re mastering concepts before moving on. Instruction is individualized.
Our teachers are trained to facilitate the Orton-Gillingham (OG) Approach, which is a direct, explicit, multisensory, structured, sequential, diagnostic and prescriptive way to teach literacy when reading, writing and spelling does not come easily to individuals, such as those with dyslexia. Our students benefit from receiving OG in small group intervention. Some students have additional support from Reading Clinic tutors in one-on-one sessions at school. Having both types of support help to close students’ gaps in reading levels.
Social and Emotional Learning
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is an important element in a school curriculum and is overlooked in public and private schools on island. Embedded in a school curriculum, SEL increases positive relationships, self-esteem and an overall healthy well-being for everyone.
In 2019, BCCL launched a school-wide Social and Emotional Learning Action Plan. Teachers were involved in a series of professional development workshops that included understanding their personal social and emotional awareness, and how their perception can impact relationships with students and colleagues. Rather than having a one-off weekly social skills lesson for students, the next phase included creating a comprehensive plan for how SEL can be ingrained throughout the school day.
BCCL reviewed numerous documents, curriculum materials and videos, that focused on SEL. One source that was found to be the most comprehensive was Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning, (CASEL). The BCCL team continually reviews CASEL’s latest research and applies these practices into their teaching.