Building Bridges: Understanding People with Different Abilities

Over the past two weeks, the Hackley Lower School students, teachers, and many parent volunteers participated in the Building Bridges program. The primary goals of “Building Bridges” are to increase student awareness and understanding of people with different abilities; to provide first-person experiences in order to develop empathy and compassion; and to reinforce the belief that all people — no matter their differences in abilities — have the same social-emotional needs and feelings.

Kindergarteners received an overview of vision impairment, hearing impairment and physical disabilities; first graders learned about blindness/vison impairment; second graders learned about deafness/hard-of-hearing; this year both third and fourth graders learned about learning differences. The students participated in hands-on simulation activities in the classroom and attended an assembly to introduce them to speakers who provided personal, real-life perspectives.