Little Friends of the High Bridge 2014-2015
For the 2014-2015 school year, the Museum expanded the Little Friends of the High Bridge program to reach an additional 805 students in the Highbridge area, at eight different schools: P.S. 11, P.S. 73, P.S. 114, P.S. 126, P.S. 199, Sacred Heart School, Highbridge Advisory Council Family Services, Site III, and Metropolitan Lighthouse Charter School.
In response to teacher feedback from the previous year, the Museum elected to offer a more in-depth experience to Highbridge schools by providing monthly classroom visits to all 805 children in the program. In addition to the professional development session, Museum Educators and Teaching Artists offered activities such as pre-visit assessment drawings, bridge building, book readings, and lesson plan presentations.
In addition, the Museum was able to publish its first ever children’s book, about the High Bridge in July 2015. The Lowdown on the High Bridge explores the past, present, and future of this historic landmark through a narrative story and beautiful watercolor illustrations. Right before its public release, a select group of children were selected to attend a book reading with Bronx-born actor and author, Sonia Manzano, best known as “Maria” from Sesame Street. The book was distributed free of cost to every Pre-K to 3rd grade student in the Highbridge (over 3,300 students!), including the 805 students in the Little Friends program. The Department of Environmental Protection recently purchased 2,000 copies of the book to distribute to 2,000 additional Bronx and Manhattan students in Spring 2016.
When the bridge was officially opened to the public on June 9th, 2015, the Museum was invited to attend the opening ceremony with one first grade class in the Little Friends of the High Bridge program. In addition, Museum Educators were able to offer guided walking trips to the bridge before the end of the school year to 376 children from the program.
The storybook’s author, Sonia Manzano, “Maria” from Sesame Street, is on the Bronx Children’s Museum Board of Advisors and she has emceed three Dream Big Day celebrations. She was the honoree at the Museum’s Dream Big Day 2014. After ten years as an actress, Sonia Manzano began writing scripts for the series and has thirteen Emmy Awards as part of the Sesame Street writing staff. Sonia Manzano also wrote for the Peabody Award winning children’s series, "Little Bill", for Nickelodeon and for a short time wrote a parenting column for the Sesame Workshop web site called “Talking Out Loud.” Sonia Manzano has received awards from The Congressional Hispanic Caucus in Washington D.C., and The Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and she received an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from Notre Dame University in 2004. Closer to home, she was inducted into the Bronx Hall of Fame in 2005. Sonia Manzano was twice nominated for an Emmy Award as “Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series.” Sonia Manzano is the author of No Dogs Allowed and A Box Full of Kittens. Her first young adult novel, entitled The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, came out in the fall of 2012. After 44 years on Sesame Street, Sonia Manzano recently retired from the famous TV show in 2015.
For more information on the Little Friends of the High Bridge program, please contact Nicole Wallace, STEAM Program Manager.
“The Little Friends of the High Bridge is an important program which allows students of the Highbridge to expand imperative knowledge of their community. It helps them understand the past and have a vision of the future. My students loved all the interactive parts of the program.”
― Ms. Chalmers, 2nd Grade Teacher at Sacred Heart School
“The Little Friends of the High Bridge is an amazing program. Students can tap into their own curiosity and learn through exploration. Miss Nicole and the other teachers and leaders are very knowledgeable and inspiring.”
― Ms. Adames, 3rd Grade Teacher at Sacred Heart School
“Programs that connect students to their community in a meaningful way are invaluable. The Little Friends of the High Bridge provides that and more as they exposed my students to history, science, environmental science, and societal issues in their backyard. I would highly recommend this program to any school in our community.”
― Mr. Andreycak, 2nd Grade Teacher at Metropolitan Lighthouse Charter School
“My class had a wonderful experience with the Little Friends of the High Bridge program. They read about the bridge, created their own version of the bridge and learned about other types of bridges as well. It was a well-prepared activity. My students will remember this experience for a long time.”
―Ms. Hernandez, 2nd Grade Teacher at P.S. 114
“I think this program is amazing for children that live in this community and almost the majority of them were not aware they have a treasure around them. This program gives them the opportunity to get knowledge and understanding of rivers/High Bridge environments, and all animals that live in the river that are very close to their houses.”
― Ms. Rodriguez, Kindergarten Teacher at P.S. 11
“Rivers On the Go! has been a great opportunity for my students to learn and see what the river looks like and see the animals that live near the river and help them understand they can play a part in taking care of our environment, an awareness they may not have gotten before.”
― Ms. Burns, Pre-K Teacher at P.S. 126
“The "Rivers On the Go!" program is an educational tool that all schools should implement in their curriculum.”
― Ms. Sosa, Special Education Teacher at HACFS Site III
“This program helps educate our children about nature and the things around us. I hope our children are proud to live in the Bronx and learn to take care of our environment.”
― Ms. Lazala, UPK Teacher at HACFS Site III
Students from Sacred Heart School attend the opening of the High Bridge with BCM Executive Director Carla Precht, Sonia Manzano, and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.
2nd Grade Students from P.S. 114 walk on the High Bridge shortly after its opening in June 2015.
Students at P.S. 73 create arch bridges using recycled materials.
Students at Sacred Heart School create River Habitat Dioramas showcasing their favorite Harlem River animals.
2nd Grade students at Metropolitan Lighthouse Charter School touch a piece of the High Bridge safety fence during a special presentation by the Department of Design and Construction.
Students create timelines showing the history of the High Bridge.