Character education supports students’ social and emotional development and teaches them how to be productive, positive citizens and role models. To support schools in providing character education as part of their work to teach the whole child, Apperson, Inc, announces the launch of The Character Tree, a new character development online resource for first and second grade students that provides appealing online video lessons to teach children about positive character traits. Teachers and parents can sign up for free access to The Character Tree for the 2019-2020 school year by visiting: https://charactertree.com/sign-up/#join
The Character Tree uses engaging discussions, real-life examples from history, role modeling and hands-on materials to emphasize positive character traits such as kindness, bravery, hope, leadership, gratitude and perseverance. The subscription, which is free for the 2019-2020 school year, provides access to 32 videos suitable for first and second grade students. The videos feature adorable puppets asking and answering questions, as well as discussions about historic figures such as Rosa Parks and Jane Goodall. The lessons are standards-aligned and each comes with a teacher’s guide and printable resources for students.
“Character education is incredibly important to the social and emotional development of young children and should be taught and reinforced regularly in the classroom and at home,” said Apperson Chairman, Bill Apperson. “We developed The Character Tree as a resource to support teachers, parents and out-of-school-time providers in this important task and to help children become positive role models in their classrooms and communities.”
The Character Tree videos feature Bill Apperson’s daughter, Sara VanderWel who plays the role of “Miss Sara” in the videos and guides discussions with the puppet children and “Gray Squirrel” as they learn about positive character traits. The puppets express their feelings, ask questions and discuss and demonstrate positive behavior.
VanderWel has served as an early elementary teacher for the past 12 years. She specializes in literacy and writing and in 2018 received the Bonnie Campbell Hill Literacy Leader Award for Washington State. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education and a B.S. in Spanish Language and Literature and an M.S. in K-6 Reading and Literacy. She also runs a Teachers Pay Teachers site called The Primary Pal.
Bill Apperson’s inspiration for developing The Character Tree came in part from discussions with VanderWel about the social and emotional issues her students often face. He also drew inspiration from his own experiences mentoring a child and from the lessons imparted by the late Fred Rogers, creator and host of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
More than 5,000 educators have already signed up to use The Character Tree. “I am using your website to teach my first graders about good choices in their school life. They love your videos. It has been a great addition to my classroom,” said Dr. Karen McGinnis, first grade teacher at Hillcrest Elementary School in Drexel Hill, PA.
For more information about The Character Tree and to subscribe or view video samples, visit https://charactertree.com/