AMBLER – St. Anthony-St. Joseph Elementary School in Ambler initiated an innovative new program for its entire student body titled “Building Bridges to Peace,” Principal Kathleen Dilts announced Feb. 3.

The students were taught to “build bridges” in two ways: by learning to peacefully solve differences in real life situations; and by determining through trial and error how to build a real bridge from a huge pile of common recycled household materials like cardboard boxes, tubes, string, Styrofoam and glue.

Building Bridges to Peace began with all students reading the book “Javier Builds a Bridge” by Carolyn DeCristofano, which tells the story of a young boy who must bridge a relationship with his new stepsister while figuring a way to build a real bridge to get safely to his fort.

“Our hope in undertaking this school-wide project was to give the students a chance to work cooperatively to solve a problem,” said Dilts. “Students designed and built a working bridge while being guided through discussions and activities on how we can all solve our differences peacefully. Throughout the project the children experienced the challenges of listening to others’ ideas and learning the fine art of compromise.”