The Long Ridge School was founded by a parent and educator who wanted to start a school that understood children learn at different rates and in different ways, and that the early childhood and elementary years are critical times for the development of lifelong attitudes about learning. Harriet Rowland prided herself on meeting the needs of each child and valuing each child as an individual. Today these ideas remain the central guiding principles of The Long Ridge School.
The school started with six children in the first class and established itself as a place where children of diverse backgrounds formed a community to learn from everyday experiences and make connections between the school and larger world. The Long Ridge School continues to value small, multi-age classes where every child’s voice is heard.
Even after moving to what would grow to become its 14-acre and three-building campus on Erskine Road, teachers continued to dedicate themselves to balancing each child’s social, emotional, physical, and creative development in an atmosphere of intellectual challenge.
Kris Bria, Head of School since 1989, has led the school through years of growth and stability. Long Ridge School’s approach has long highlighted what are now being called “21st Century Skills.” A Long Ridge School education is hallmarked by teachers who ensure that children read and write effectively, engage and embrace mathematics and science, and have opportunities to develop artistic, coding, athletic talents, and social skills, and to think critically and creatively. Long Ridge knows that what makes people successful most often has to do more with their experiences, thinking and their openness to new ideas – their curiosity and thirst for understanding rather than with the specific knowledge they carry. Teachers spark students’ interest to think, imagine, ask questions, experiment, explore, create, and solve problems. A cornerstone of The Long Ridge School experience is its integrated curriculum that provides a rich opportunity for students to gain additional perspectives and understanding of a topic across multiple disciplines.
The Long Ridge School occupies a unique place in lower Fairfield County as one of the few independent schools in Connecticut devoted solely to preschool and elementary education. The school has benefited from the long tenure and commitment of many faculty and community members who believe both in Harriet Rowland’s philosophy of individualized and personalized education and Kris Bria’s knowledge that a relevant 21st Century education starts in a close-knit pre-school and elementary school environment “where loving kindness prevails.”