Quantcast

Puppets Teach Central VA Children Skill-Building Lessons - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Puppets Teach Central VA Children Skill-Building Lessons

Posted: Updated:
Children in some central VA schools learn valuable skills, thanks to the Al's Pals program. Children in some central VA schools learn valuable skills, thanks to the Al's Pals program.

Preschools across central Virginia are using a new tool to teach students to make healthy choices. Puppets are helping young kids build social and emotional skills.

The props were recently added to the Skyline Community Action Partnership's (CAP) Head Start program, which serves Madison, Page, Shenandoah, Rappahannock, Greene and Warren counties.

The Skyline CAP Head Start program is now using Al's Pals puppets to help teach important skill-building lessons. It held an open house in Madison County Tuesday to show off how much it's impacted the children already.

"The Al's Pals program is a social emotional curriculum... to help the children develop social emotional skills early on in life, like sharing, friends," said Head Start director Simon Fiscus.

The Skyline CAP Head Start program serves almost 200 children. Ninety-seven percent of those children come from low-income families and the other three percent have disabilities. Fiscus says the Al's Pals program is already making a big difference.

"We've noticed personally within our program, we used to refer 40 children a year out of the 200 for mental health concerns. That number has dropped in half with the last year of having this program," Fiscus said.

Skyline CAP Head Start notes their teachers are reporting fewer disciplinary problems after the Al's Pals program was implemented. Teacher Kathy Lillard says the puppets are an important tool for development.

"We have you know many kids that haven't been around other kids or maybe been exposed to this many kids at one time so it's hard for them to understand it's not okay to hit, it's not okay to pinch - things like that. So it gives them a power for them to use their words," said Lillard.

It is a power the preschoolers are learning from their new set of friends.

"He came to me and he said, 'Ms. Kathy I used my words and told her I didn't like that.' And you know at the beginning of the school year that would have never happened. So we contribute a lot of that to Al," Lillard said.

A three-year grant from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth is funding the Al's Pals program.

A representative from Congressman Robert Hurt's office also attended Tuesday's open house event in Madison County.

  • Puppets Teach Central VA Children Skill-Building LessonsMore>>

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WVIR. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.