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Tuckahoe Union Free School District Starts 'Building Bridges' On Feb. 2

"Building Bridges" is a program that will help children grades K-5 learn about living with disabilities.
"Building Bridges" is a program that will help children grades K-5 learn about living with disabilities. Photo Credit: www.tuckahoeschools.org

TUCKAHOE, N.Y. -- The Tuckahoe Union Free School District will roll out an innovative program called “Building Bridges” on Feb. 2 at William E. Cottle School in Tuckahoe.

Children in grades kindergarten through fifth will experience first-hand what it feels like to live with disabilities through fun, interactive classroom activities. They also will hear from guest speakers about what it is like to be a person with a disability.

Kindergartners will be taught a basic overview of disabilities. First graders will learn about blindness and second graders will learn about deafness and hearing and speech impairments. Third graders will focus on Down syndrome and autism. Fourth graders will discuss physical disabilities and fifth graders will talk about learning disabilities.

The entire program will be run by parent volunteers under the auspices of the Special Education PTA, led by co-chairs Tara Zegers and Maria Cocucci. “The children in Tuckahoe are unique and have consistently embraced their peers with different abilities, without judgment. The special educators in Tuckahoe are an especially dedicated and talented group of professionals who foster this environment,” said Cocucci.

"This program is another way to enforce the values the school and children in Tuckahoe already possess. The lessons will reinforce the idea that all people have the same social needs and feelings. They help children realize these differences are not a barrier to friendship," she said.

Zegers said, “Tuckahoe’s children are amazing and this is a place where every child is treated with care, respect, empathy and compassion without regard to ability. There quite simply is no better place to do this and we are very excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this great initiative.”

Bringing this program to the Tuckahoe Schools is possible through the financial support of several generous groups, including the Gaffney Foundation, the PTA Community Service Committee and the Gentry family. The SEPTA co-chairs also thank Assistant Superintendent Carl Albano, William E. Cottle School Principal George Albano and the Board of Education, for immediately embracing the program and providing them with ongoing support.

Parent volunteers are critical to making the program a success and the time commitment for volunteers will be minimal, approximately two to three hours. Parents in the district wishing to volunteer may register at http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0f49a4aa2fa0ff2-volunteers/22927009 .

If you would like more information about the program, contact Tuckahoe SEPTA at Tuckahoe.septa@gmail.com.

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