Little Friends of the High Bridge 2013-2014
During the 2013-2014 school year, the Little Friends of the High Bridge initiative was piloted with great success with over 600 students at P.S. 11, P.S. 126, P.S. 73, P.S. 114, Sacred Heart School, and the Highbridge Advisory Council Family Services Site III in Highbridge. During this pilot stage, teachers were offered a professional development training with a Museum Early Childhood Education Specialist in the fall and asked to test out the first draft of the Teacher Resource Packet throughout the school year. In May and June, students received a visit from the newly renovated Rivers On the Go! mobile exhibit, which was adapted from its previous focus on the Bronx River to include a diorama of the Harlem River and High Bridge, complete with examples of the different plants and animals that can be found along in the Highbridge area.
“I can attest to the fact that the Little Friends of the High Bridge pilot program was very successful in my school this year! Our Kindergarten and First grade students and their teachers were introduced to this Science and Social Studies based program which focused mainly on different types of bridges and animals. The story of the High Bridge was used as a tool to delve more deeply into students learning about themselves and the diversity and richness of their community, as well as the world beyond! This solid curriculum provided the students the opportunities to explore various websites using the SMART Board. The students learned from the texts across the curriculum which extended their thinking. The teachers acknowledged that the students’ reading comprehension, vocabulary, and writing skills were measurably improved including those students who were highly capable or at-risk. I highly recommend the Little Friends of the High Bridge program to other schools because of the emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).”
-Dr. Kong, Principal at P.S. 11
“[This program] has rekindled the love for our slogan: a long and productive history, today a dynamic and productive organization for educating children. We now know the history and importance of the High Bridge in our community.”
–Jauna Tapia, Director of Highbridge Advisory Council Family Services, Site III
“The topics and resources fit perfectly into our lessons on water and the water cycle. The lesson plans provided have given us great resources to supplement our teaching. The Kindergarten students are learning about the types of bodies of water and why it is important not to waste water. One of our Kindergarten teachers even used the Magic School Bus book to start her own little library on water-related books.”
–Ms. Valenzuela, Kindergarten Teacher at Sacred Heart
"The Little Friends of High Bridge program gave my children a rich history of the importance of their own neighborhood. The bus experience and the additional resources your organization provided really made the history of the bridge come alive. My children thoroughly enjoyed the program. I would recommend the curriculum highly to any school."
–Ms. Anderson, Science Cluster Teacher at P.S. 11
“It was a great experience for my Pre-K students. It made them more aware of what a river is. It was fun working with the Bronx Children’s Museum. They made it easier to teach the lessons. The curriculum was clear and easy to follow.”
–Ms. Barbara Burns, Pre-K Teacher at P.S. 126.
“It was such a great experience having you teaching my class. I really thank you for your time and dedication in helping my children learn about the High Bridge, the Harlem River, and what they can see and find in it.”
–Diana Fernandez, Bilingual Kindergarten Teacher at P.S. 73.
“The whole experience on the bus was so engaging and educational. As a Bronxite native I didn't have much knowledge of the Highbridge, Bronx, and Harlem Rivers and its inhabitants. The murals on the bus allowed the children to witness the beauty of the Bronx and Harlem Rivers.” –Mrs. Castillo-Rivera, 1st Grade Teacher at Sacred Heart
“I am writing testimony on behalf of the relationship that Highbridge Community Life Center and the Highbridge Community has developed with the Bronx Children’s Museum, where the Museum has become an essential part of our neighborhood, the schools and our children’s in so many ways.
The Highbridge School Coalition holds monthly meetings of all the schools and community organizations in the neighborhood and working to improve connections between the schools and the neighborhood and its community organizations. The Bronx Children’s Museum has joined this coalition, the Highbridge Library Coalition and the High Bridge Coalition and the Harlem River Working Group and has truly adopted our community as its first neighborhood in which to become completely immersed. I am also very impressed that the Museum regularly attends our various monthly meetings and that it has an intuitive sense about how communities work and how important it is to become involved on multiple levels.
Instead of just joining existing coalitions, we are also very thankful that the museum has taken the time to understand how best to design innovative programming that is relevant, uplifting, and tailored to our community. Even proposing to undertake the design and publishing of a much needed book about the High Bridge and the creating of an exhibit on their bus about the Harlem River and High Bridge. The Little Friends of the High Bridge initiative is a good example of how the Museum has gone above and beyond participating and has become an active community institution, making dreams come true to the children and school teachers alike by providing a curriculum guide and basis for studying the neighborhood’s namesake, the High Bridge.
It is incredible all that the Museum has been able to offer our community and while the Rivers on the Bus is its only physical structure currently, it is truly refreshing to see a museum emerging from the streets, schools and children and caregivers it seeks to inspire. We look forward to working with the Bronx Children’s Museum in the years to come and hope that the Highbridge neighborhood will continue to be able to benefit from the museums enrichment and inspiration. We whole heartily support the Bronx Children Museum and its efforts to continue to enrich the lives of children and families throughout the Bronx.
In the ten years that I have served as a coordinator of our numerous community coalitions in the Highbridge Neighborhood of the Bronx, I have never worked with an institution that was so focused on providing youth the resources to both better understand and enjoy our neighborhood, our borough, and our namesake, the High Bridge.”
-Chauncy Young, Director of Organizing Highbridge Community Life Center