There is already an award-winning identity program at The Cathedral School, but the first grade’s Understanding Differences Curriculum expands that program to include discussion of diversity of ability, both physical and mental. This curriculum, which stretches over several months of the first grade’s fall and winter, starts with a unit on wheelchair access. The children learn about wheelchair athletes and also tour the neighborhood to examine public transportation, local businesses, and Columbia University for potential flaws in their accessibility design. There are also units on autism, Down Syndrome, deafness, and blindness. The Understanding Differences Curriculum finishes with a week-long charity drive called Pennies for Puppies, during which the first graders participate in bake sales and read-a-thons to raise money to train Seeing Eye dogs, which can cost as much as $50,000 per dog to train.