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New-York Historical Society Museum & Library

Pono’s mentorship program fosters in-depth, guided exploration of subjects chosen by Pono students ages six and older, allowing the children to work with experts who share their knowledge. This fall the students requested to learn more about history and art. The New York Historical Society’s The Art of History program integrates both of these areas, allowing children to explore New York history through art and social studies. The Pono children are examining the question, “How did the Civil War affect New York City and its residents?” with artist and educator David Zukas. He instructs the children at Pono in drawing techniques, as they create portraits of New Yorkers affected by the Civil War. David encourages the students to consider the backgrounds of the people they draw and gives them the historical context necessary for such an exercise. As part of their mentorship, the students are also participating in the New York Historical Society’s Social Studies Enrichment program. History educator Paul Swartz uses resources from the museum’s collections to guide the children’s exploration at Pono of the following topics: New York’s First People, Slavery in New York, the American Revolution in New York, Immigration, and New York, the New Nation. The students are gaining a nuanced understanding of their city’s history and of artistic expression through the Pono mentorship program.

Lydia's Magic Garden

We are happy to announce Pono's new partnership with Lydia's Magic Garden, located between 118 street and 117 street on Park avenue! Our partnership with Lydia's Magic Garden consists of weekly visits from our Pono friends to help the garden with whatever is necessary to maintain the space: planting, harvesting, weeding, and so on. 

Lydia's Magic Garden (LMG) was founded in 1991 by Lydia Roman. This beautiful garden has won the Molly Parnis Dress Up Your Neighborhood contest five years straight (1994 -1998), has been featured in Garden Magazine, Urban Latino Magazine, The Village Voice, El Vocerro de Puerto Rico and El Diario la Prensa, and photos of this beautiful garden have also been showcased in El Museo del Barrio and an exhibit about New York City Gardens at the Museum of the City of New York. This year, Lydia's Magic Garden won a Citizens Committee for New York SWAB grant to begin a composting program and was also honored by visit by the Manhattan Borough President to commend the garden on its innovative composting initiative.

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Harlem Grown

Since 2016 Pono has held a partnership with Harlem Grown, an independent, non-profit organization that operates local urban farms and promotes food justice, nutrition, and sustainability in Harlem. As part of our collaboration, Pono children will visit Harlem Grown's new 127th Street Farm on a weekly basis and carry out various responsibilities. Pono staff and children will also assist Harlem Grown in their mission to serve Harlem youth through garden-based programs.

The Center for Kinesthetic Education

In January 2014, Pono invited the renowned Dr. Martha Eddy, Founder and Director of The Center for Kinesthetic Education, to teach a workshop on motor development for the Pono instructors and to conduct a neurodevelopment evaluation for each Pono child. Because motor development is so vitally tied to a child’s ability to sequence both body and thought, and therefore to learning and greater quality of life, we decided to establish a partnership with The Center for Kinesthetic Education.

The Center’s mission is to bring body awareness and movement activity into everyday life via fun, safe, and neurologically sound programming for all ages. The Pono-Center for Kinesthetic Education Partnership is a program to monitor and support each child’s motor development through quarterly sessions that include neurodevelopment screening and individualized recommendations for activities designed to develop particular motor skills.

Dr. Eddy, who works with the children through movement and play, has been able to provide teachers and parents with exciting new insights into each child and to help us make practical use of her information in the daily lives of the students.

Dr. Eddy also provides movement classes to parents, teachers, and children at the Pono space on Thursday nights. We invite anyone and everyone to come by to move to music – it's a time to untie any physical or mental knots, and enjoy being with friends.

Storefront Science

We are thrilled to announce that Pono's partnership with Storefront Science is taking a new form starting October 2014. Storefront Science, whose mission it is to engage children through wonder and discovery in science, encourages inquiry and exploration by fostering a process of questions, information gathering, cooperation, and critical thinking.

In the past year, Dr. Ardizzone, the Founder and President of Storefront Science and a science educator for more than 20 years (LINK TO LEONISA'S BIO), has taught lessons at Pono on the human body, the periodic table, geology, symbiosis, atoms, insects, and electricity, each at the request of the students. Dr. Ardizzone believes that science should be fun, engaging, and shared with children in ways that invigorate their interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). She teaches problem solving and critical thinking through hands-on/minds-on activities and actively encourages questions, which empower students to design experiments and develop necessary science skills.

This fall, the beloved Dr. A. will work with the Pono children on a longitudinal study of a specific aspect of nature and ecology for the purpose of creating a solution for an environmental problem. The focus of the project was determined by the childrens recently expressed interest in nature and electricity.Dr. Ardizzone will provide guidance in research and engineering as she encourages the children in creative problem solving.

Besides her teaching at Pono, Dr. Ardizzone also offers fun, unique, and inspiring Science birthday parties at the Pono space.


Children's Museum of the Arts

The Children's Museum of the Arts (CMA) was a destination that the Pono children request to visit every week, thus the incentive to partner with this exceptional not-for-profit organization. CMA is based on the belief that the arts are critical to child and youth development and to strong and vibrant communities. CMA's goal is to inspire and champion the next generation of artists and art lovers by providing authentic hands-on art experiences for children with artists and by collecting and exhibiting children’s art.

In 2012, the Pono-CMA partnership took the form of weekly sessions with the CMA practicing teaching artist, Kate Fox, to guide and mentor the young Pono artists through fun and advanced art projects in a range of techniques and media. Kate arranged projects in response to the interests expressed by the children and facilitated interactions with other teaching artists in whose work the children were interested.

Founded in October 1988 by Kathleen Schneider, CMA has been located in the Manhattan neighborhood of SoHo since its inception. As CMA’s audience grew in size, its young artists grew as well, CMA needed a larger space to expand its’ programming. In 2011, CMA opened the doors to its new state-of-the art facility on Charlton Street. The Pono-CMA partnership sessions took place at this beautiful facility.


Pono's first partnership was back in 2011- 2012 with STREB, a New York based dance company where the dancers combine virtuosity and technical skill to create performance that are a mixture of "slam dancing, exquisite human flight, and a wild action sport." (STREB website)

The Pono-STREB Partnership took place at SLAM--STREB Lab for Action Mechanics--the dance company's home in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. The purpose of the partnership was for the children to explore movement in a nontraditional way while investigating scientific principles of the body and creating their own “action ideas.” While the classes were open-ended, responding the interests of the children for that day, the STREB dancers guided the children by modeling activities, teaching specific physical skills, and supporting the children’s own playful creativity. The Pono children worked with Fabio Tavares, Associate Artistic Director, then Daniel Rysak, Felix Hess, and Jackie Carlson, who provided weekly lessons for the whole period of the internships. The Pono children stayed after class to watch their teachers and other STREB dancers rehearse, that is, invent and test action ideas as a group with the company Director, Elizabeth Streb.

Since the time it was founded by choreographer Elizabeth Streb in 1985 in New York City, the company "has traveled, artistically as well as geographically, from the heights of the experimental dance world to the cutting-edge of popular entertainment" (from STREB website).

STREB has performed in theaters large and small and served as artists-in-residence at the world's top art museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and Los Angeles MOCA.