By Samantha Thomas, staff writer
A group of juniors and seniors from Saegertown High School have been working to introduce a research-based curriculum known as ‘On Applebee Pond’ that uses puppets to teach children positive and applicable life skills to elementary school students.
Designed by the Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission Inc., this program is designed to teach young children about social skills, the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and peacemaking through eight charismatic puppet personas.
The puppet characters will be portrayed by seniors Madison Morgan, Dustin Steiger, Stephanie Polach and Mykenzie Connally, and juniors Oliver Smith and Carson Jones. Advisor Susan James and her students will be performing at the elementary at a date yet to be determined. She emphasizes the importance of teaching kids social skills at a young age.
“I think it’s important to help teach the kids in a relatable and captivating way that they can understand and enjoy,” Steiger said. Steiger, along with five other students, were recruited by Assistant Principal Kylene Koper.
According to Mrs. Kelly Burke, who taught the curriculum at Maplewood, each of the eight puppets were handmade by retired seamstresses. Arnold, the farmer who introduces and concludes each lesson, is joined by Tadpole, Buddy Beaver, Clayton Crab, Handy Gander, Freddie Fish, Merrie Mermaid, and Bull Frog. Each character has a unique personality that will help teach students valuable lessons. To learn more about the program, click here.