About Kidsbridge Tolerance Museum

HISTORY OF KIDSBRIDGE

In March, 2006 Kidsbridge created a mini-museum (a.k.a. “learning lab”) on campus at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in Ewing, New Jersey. The mini-museum features the exhibit “Face to Face: Dealing with Prejudice and Discrimination,” an exhibit created by the Chicago Children’s Museum. The exhibit provides tools that help children and families recognize bias and prejudice and in and around them and help them respond to it appropriately with positive choices. More than 400 TCNJ undergraduates and ten professors have already successfully interacted with approximately 4500 elementary and middle school children.

Kidsbridge and The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) have collaborated to create a cutting-edge partnership to teach diversity appreciation, conflict resolution and character education to elementary and middle school children, leadership youth groups and inner-city summer day campers. We believe it is precedent-setting that a museum and a college create a partnership to enhance educational opportunities for low-income children and for a college to create a museum on campus.

ANTI-BULLYING/GANG RESISTANCE/LIFE SKILLS PROGRAMS

For six years, Kidsbridge has successfully conducted an anti-bullying/conflict resolution/victim empowerment program in Trenton’s Robeson Elementary School.  For three years, a similar program has been conducted in Trenton’s Hedgepeth-Williams Middle School for at-risk middle schoolers who are truant, suspended and being referred for detention.  From September to May, at-risk students meet weekly in small group sessions with mentors and college students. The program culminates in a graduation ceremony, to which parents, administrators, the press, and dignitaries are invited.  As a result of this program, teachers and the principal report fewer classroom disruptions, student suspensions, and disciplinary actions, and for some students– improvements in academic achievement.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

  • Explore various approaches to dealing with prejudice and discrimination by examining the experiences of other children.
  • Understand that they are not alone in being subjects of prejudice and discrimination.
  • Learn that name calling is a form of prejudice and discrimination and explore their emotions about victims of name calling (and how to handle it).
  • Understand that exclusion is a form of prejudice and discrimination and that being a silent bystander is comparable to doing a harmful action.
  • Learn to recognize and dispel stereotypes.
  • Learn that creative expression takes a variety of forms, such as art, writing, and journaling, and that each one can be a powerful means of communicating feelings and experiences.
  • Feel inspired and empowered to take action against prejudice and discrimination.
  • Gain a historical perspective of prejudice and discrimination through studying historical signage and photographs.

Following the museum experience, elementary or middle schoolers are broken into small groups to conceive and practice a skit.  Common themes are: how to counteract a bully, how to advocate for victims, how to include everyone, when to go to an adult, etc. Writing and performing skits helps kids to distill and crystallize the lessons they have learned in the museum. Puppet shows are effective because they : 1)  powerfully reinforce the tolerance and character education messages; 2) are a proven educational medium for enhancing  students’ language development especially in the areas of oral communication; and 3) enhance affective growth through promoting self-confidence, social skills, and increased empathy.  Educational drama also benefits the teachers that are watching with the students.

4 Responses “About Kidsbridge Tolerance Museum” →

  1. Susan Fall

    August 28, 2010

    I am a pastor, youth group leader and work with our church’s mission, peacemaking and justice committee. I am interested in possible programs for our church. Please tell me more of what is available.

    Reply

  2. Brandy Veltre

    April 20, 2011

    My 10 year old son is bullied in school n crys cause he has no friends it not only breaks my heart I’m so scared for him I have talked to his school repeatedly n I just don’t know what to do anymore

    Reply

    • kidsbridgemuseum

      August 3, 2011

      I hope that our website can provide you with the resources to help you get through this hard time.

      Reply

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