Crescent Montessori’s new middle school’s opening day coincided with the Bay Bridge’s new span’s opening day: Sept. 3.

Casey Welch, the new middle school teacher, decided to throw orthodoxy to the winds and scheduled a field trip for the first day of school.

Five students, one teacher and one mom, left Sonoma shortly after greetings and reached the bridge before the 10 a.m. closing of the carpool lane.

The group participated in its first impromptu experiential learning session on Treasure Island with the new Bay Bridge as a backdrop.

In an email to parents, Welch said, “I hope this trip helps the students realize that they, too, are beginning something historic as the middle school’s inaugural class, while simultaneously gaining an appreciation for the incredible feats of human progress that can be achieved with our continually growing collective body of knowledge. Perhaps some students will be drawn to learn more about the engineering behind the self-anchored suspension span, or the controversy behind spending taxpayer money on steel from China or bolts that broke when tightened ... Who knows, maybe they’ll even come up with the bridge as a metaphor for their adolescent journey from childhood to adulthood.”

According to the school, Montessori adolescent education is based on the teachings of Italian philosopher Maria Montessori. It is developmentally responsive and recognizes that human development occurs in distinct stages and respects the fact that for each individual this will take a slightly different form. Classes at Crescent Montessori are experiential in nature and take a holistic approach by considering the whole child with coursework that is interdisciplinary so that students can see the interconnections of science, humanities, language, math and arts.

The school’s expansion to include a middle school, completes the total Montessori vision for a school, serving children from ages 2 to 15. To learn more, contact Karin Niehoff, school director, at 996-2456 or visit