Why Jump Start?

Why Jump Start?

Bridge is the ultimate Mindsport.  It is a strategic, math-based game played with a standard deck of playing cards.  Played face-to-face or online, students can play and practice individually, with a partner or with a team. 


Teachers can benefit from incorporating Bridge into their class room or by teaching/sponsoring a bridge club at their school.

Kathy Rolfe worked with gifted and talented teachers for several years. Stacia Garland, a retired gifted teacher and the administrator of Exquisite Minds: Gifted and Creative Children wrote this:

Kathy, I believe in what you do. I’ve borne witness from two different angles. First, the children you taught and how it developed their intellect and social skills. And, now living in Florida, I see the elderly who are playing bridge and are incredibly sharp for their age. Two of the women are in their 90’s. Are they playing bridge because they are sharp and enjoy the game or are they sharp because they’ve been playing bridge for years? To me it doesn’t matter, the fact is, bridge is a part of their lives at age 90, and that’s amazing!

Best wishes,

Bridge can provide numerous advantages as an activity for your students.

The advantages are:

  • Teachers are paid a stipend. An easy activity to facilitate (teaching materials, supplies and online support are provided)
  • A FREE activity
  • A vehicle for practically applying the skills they have learned in the classroom.
  • A competitive opportunity that strongly promotes, sportsmanship, courtesy, communication, and ethical behavior
  • Bridge provides an opportunity to travel to competitions representing your school and your community.
  • Multi-generational connections can be made through bridge.
  • Teachers and parents have reported a positive correlation between learning and playing bridge and improvement in behavior, test scores and grades.
  • A FUN activity your students will enjoy.
Teachers talk about Bridge!
  • Modifying what to bid and play responsive to what others do develops adaptive skills.
  • It encourages students to think on their own.
  • Builds better problem solvers.
  • It is a fun way to learn a needed skill and strategic thinking.
  • Develops critical thinking skills.
  • Develops math skills.
  • Bonding between the students, socializing
  • Connection to academic skills
  • Quantifying the value of a hand, considering probabilities and scoring develops math skills.
  • Strategizing how to ‘make’ vs. defeat a contract develops problem-solving skills.


No one sits on the sidelines in bridge, everyone plays!


Bridge offers the chance to put into practice many of the skills they learn in school. 

  • Math
  • Probability
  • Logic
  • Partnership and Teamwork
  • Strategy
  • Communication
  • Working within a set of guidelines to accomplish a goal
  • Sportsmanship & Competition

In addition, bridge offers chances to travel, meet new people and make new friends. 

Students tell us why they love Bridge!
  • Makes me think
  • Bridge is fun!
  • I like playing with cards and with other people
  • I like the math and the suspense
  • You get to play with your buddies
  • You have partners
  • You have to concentrate a lot
  • You get to play against a team
  • I like the card game because you can win prizes sometimes
  • Playing cards with a teammate you have to concentrate
  • I like the bidding
  • I like playing with friends
  • Playing with other people and winning
  • T-shirts!
  • I want to play next year
  • Bridge is a good way to apply & exercise my math skills
  • Concentration

Letter from a teacher about how her Bridge program and students developed.

Parents, Teachers, School Administrators and Bridge Players of all ages,

Sometimes things come together perfectly. It doesn’t happen very often; usually something can be
counted on to go wrong. But when everything goes right, when obstacles are overcome by people who
share the same goal, it is something to be cherished!

I have experienced this cherished moment in time with the St. Augustine Bridge Club in Lebanon,
Kentucky. It all began with 4 young ladies who fell in love with Bridge and wanted to learn more than I
could teach. Soon 4 young men joined, and we were a determined group who called Patty Tucker to
come to Lebanon for a week of Bridge Camp. The ACBL Educational Foundation granted us the funds to
bring her, and the rest is history.

After Bridge Camp our numbers of students wanting to learn bridge grew to such large numbers, I
needed more help to coach this enthusiastic group. Out of nowhere two fabulous women who love to
play bridge jumped on board and we were off and running with the only student Bridge Club in the state
of Kentucky. Mrs. April Gordon and Mrs. Ellen McFall became my right and left arm as we watched our
students grow in their knowledge and enthusiasm for the game. A year later a third lady and lover of
Bridge asked if she could help coach. It was then that Mrs. Kathy Shannon became the fourth bridge
coach of the St A Bridge Club. All the while our Bridge club was growing and learning!

Our club membership at the end of May 2023 was 40 students. 20 young ladies and 20 young men. Ages
range from 7 to 13 years of age. Attendance is unbelievable with few missing a chance to play. Student
confidence has soared, and students are proud to participate in this challenging club. Student abilities
range from lowest achievers to the most gifted academically. Students are learning to communicate and
to really listen to others. Their attention to memory is a must as the cards are being played to be able to
make their bid or set their opponents.

The coaches and I are beginning to plan for our students to compete in the 2024 March Youth
tournament in Louisville, Kentucky. This is a realistic goal which will give us all something to work

Bridge is an awesome game that I cannot say enough about. It reaches all ages and abilities. If I was
asked what could be done to accomplish world peace. My answer would be, play more bridge.

Angela Owen

Title 1 Reading Specialist
St. Augustine Bridge Coach
June 12, 2023


From intellectual stimulation to fundraising for your school, to community outreach, to national competitions; Bridge can enrich your students’ lives.

How Bridge benefits your school:

  • An easy activity to add to a curriculum or an after-school club (teaching materials, supplies, and online support are provided)
  • A FREE activity
  • A vehicle for the practical application of the skills students have learned in the classroom.
  • A competitive opportunity that strongly promotes, sportsmanship, courtesy, communication, and ethical behavior
  • Multi-generational connections and community outreach can be made through bridge.
  • Teachers and parents have reported a positive correlation between learning and playing bridge and improvement in behavior, test scores, and grades.
  • A FUN activity your students will enjoy.


Parents have found bridge to be an enriching activity for their children.

August 2, 2007

Mrs. Diane Peterson
Surfside Elementary School
475 Cassia Blvd.
Satellite Beach, FL 32937

Dear Mrs. Peterson;

I would like to thank you and Mrs. Pomeroy for your dedication and hard work hosting the after school bridge club at Surfside. My daughter, Sarah Van Sickle, participated in 5 th and 6 th grades and always looked forward to bridge club days. She even taught my husband and I how to play! As a parent, I was impressed with the quality of the program. It integrated math skills with concepts of teamwork, gracious professionalism and strategic thinking in a fun, low stress environment. I enjoyed watching Sarah progress from learning the language and rules of the game to actually planning and discussing playing strategies. It was truly an eye opening experience for her to see first hand that it is not necessarily the cards or talents that you are dealt in life, but the choices that you make that can turn any hand into a winner or loser. It is these kinds of mind expanding opportunities that give children the tools and confidence to embrace and rise to new challenges. Success in bridge, as in life, requires practice, strategic thinking and making good choices. If we want our children to make good choices and be successful throughout their lives, we have to provide opportunities for them to learn how. Surfside Bridge Club was definitely one of
those opportunities.

Thanks again.
Karen L. Enderle

Letter of Appreciation to Atlanta Junior Bridge from a mother:

Dear Patty, Carolyn, John, Lola, Karen, Nancy, Barbara, Marty and other Atlanta Junior Bridge volunteers,

I want to thank you for the wonderful opportunities Atlanta Junior Bridge has provided our family. My kids, my husband, and I enjoyed learning bridge basics at your camp in the summer of 2006. Tage and Maya participated in continuing lessons, games, and tournaments during the school year. This summer, Maya went to the advanced beginner camp while Tage attended the intermediate camp.

When we began homeschooling, the opportunity to socialize and compete against other students was something my children missed. At AJB events, my daughter chats and giggles with female middle school players. Although there are not as many teenagers for my son to meet, I like the friendly atmosphere evident when my six-foot-tall son bends down to confer with his seven and nine-year-old teammates for a Swiss game. Games and tournaments allow them to see how they rank against other students.

Tage’s and Maya’s participation in bridge has also influenced our extended family and friends. Maya encouraged one of her friends to learn to play bridge from her uncle this summer. During trips to New Orleans to visit relatives, we played bridge with their grandmother, great aunt, and their 97-year-old mother. My son and his great-grandma have difficulty finding a common topic for conversation. When they partnered for bridge, they easily beat Maya and me. While playing, they both relaxed and began talking. On another visit, Maya’s great-grandma spent time reviewing the daily hands from the bridge newspaper column with her. After playing with Tage and Maya, their Grandmother Nancy began participating in a weekly social bridge game and plans to play duplicate bridge when she retires.

My kids also write about their bridge activities to their grandparents in India. Since their grandparents are lifelong players, it is fun for the kids to share their interest. Because of the lifestyle differences between India and the United States, I am never sure if Tage’s and Maya’s Indian grandparents understand my kids’ descriptions of scout trips and swim meets. However, I know that when they write about playing in a Swiss team game or doing well in a tournament that their grandparents appreciate this activity.

With three weekly youth games and lessons, you are providing wonderful opportunities for our children. The toughest part of being a “bridge parent” is allowing my children to participate according to their interest and not pushing them to do it all. Thanks to your excellent organization, I know my children will enjoy bridge their whole lives.

Sincerely yours,

Erin Kelkar

Letter to Patty Tucker from a school bridge lesson series teacher…


Hi Patty,
In answer to your request for interesting hands, let me tell you what happened recently.

The dean of students asked if he might monitor one of our Bridge sessions, and of course, we welcomed him. A hand was dealt, and North, a sixteen-year-old, put out a 1H card. I stopped them and asked what we knew about his hand. In unison, six voices chimed in, “He has at least twelve points and at least five hearts.” Lefty passed, and partner put out the 2H card. I said “stop” and asked what we knew about his hand. In unison, six voices said, “Six to nine points, and at least three hearts.”

Opener, thinking out loud, said that they didn’t have enough for game, so he was passing, and he hoped to make eight tricks with hearts as trumps. I asked the pass out seat if he had anything to say, and correctly, I thought, he didn’t. But he added that he had a good idea how many points his partner had, and maybe they could beat two hearts.

The dean pulled me aside and commented that I was really teaching deductive reasoning, and if that were the case, they should make Bridge a curriculum course. I don’t think we’ll see that soon, but the awareness on the part of the teaching staff as to the benefits of learning Bridge is certainly becoming heightened.

Anyway, we had fourteen newbies show up this term, and a couple of them are already showing some promise.

Thanks again for your wonderful efforts.
Evan Sachs