Seeing their Futures & Having “Wow!” Moments

Jennifer Hirsch’s 4th-grade son came home from school excited. “He couldn’t wait to tell me what happened today at assembly,” she said.

Kids at Upper Nyack Elementary School peek at peregrine falcons Skylar, Shea and Nina/NNYB Outreach

Kids at Upper Nyack Elementary School peek at peregrine falcons Skylar, Shea and Nina/NNYB Outreach

Hirsch, an Upper Nyack Elementary School PTA member, invited the Outreach Team to his class. “It’s important for our kids to know what’s happening in their community,” she said.

That was Nicole Davi’s plan, too, when she stopped into the Outreach Center a few minutes from her Nyack home. A scientist, she knew a visit to her son’s 3rd-grade class at Liberty Elementary School would be beneficial and a treat.

“They’re learning about bridges and engineering, and this was a wonderful experience for the kids,” Davi said. “He told me nearly one million cars drive across it every week.”

“A Solid Foundation,” year two of a five-year educational plan that corresponds with the project’s timetable, talks about the materials used to build the bridge’s foundations, illustrating via animations. Kids also learn about protecting the environment, including endangered sturgeon and Peregrine falcons.

Community Relations Specialist Dan Marcy speaking to 3rd graders at Liberty Elementary School/NNYB Outreach

Community Relations Specialist Dan Marcy speaking to 3rd graders at Liberty Elementary School/NNYB Outreach

Hearing about the viewing platform got the kids interested in seeing the river and the crane through monoculars. They wanted to know when the new bridge will be finished, and how loud is the noise machines make when they are digging into bedrock. Some asked how much it would cost to cross the new structure.

They loved the visuals and hands-on displays; a big hit was the steel piling: kids put their hands around it, felt how heavy it is, and saw what it looks like.

“The New NY Bridge is a once in a lifetime project and we want it to inspire local students at all levels from graduate school and college down to elementary classrooms. The goal of our educational outreach effort at all levels is to use this historic infrastructure project to inspire the next generation of bridge builders here in New York.” — Brian Conybeare, Special Project Advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo

“He learned a lot about the materials used, and about the crane,” Hirsch said. “He told me it waited for low tide so it could go under the (current) bridge.”

Liberty Elementary School: exploring ideas/NNYB Outreach

Liberty Elementary School: exploring ideas/NNYB Outreach

Parents and teachers wrote on Facebook that the presentation was a success, and the kids loved it. “One commented, ‘Wow! I hope you can expand it to a walking tour.’”

Davi agreed. “We would like to see it (bridge project) incorporated into the school. A lot of us in the community really want to see more programs like this.”

Two parents with children in two schools within the same system share one thought. Team Outreach at school was a great start.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

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