KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mesner Puppet Theater in Kansas City, Missouri, is producing a new line of educational digital videos and supplemental materials to help pre-K through elementary school-aged children learn how to manage their emotions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic is changing almost every area of life for children, from their schools to their friends, and their life and routine at home. The changes can cause children to become frustrated, confused and even angry.
The Mesner Puppet Theater recognizes what's happening to children, and they are developing a series of digital video puppet shows called, "In the Workshop."
The digital video series is designed to help children understand their emotions and learn how to respond to challenging situations in a positive manner.
"We're trying to reach a national audience for this and we're really hearing from teachers that they need something to inspire their students and to activate and engage their learning right now; and we think puppets are the perfect way to do it," said Meghann Henry, Mesner Puppet Theater communications director and puppeteer.
The Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, is partnering with Mesner Puppet Theater. The videos are being produced at Carlsen Center and Carlsen Center is sponsoring four schools to participate in the Mesner video project.
"Each month they get an episode featuring Nico the dog. He has a host of co-stars including Langston the mouse, and Zora the dancer. The characters get into crazy situations dealing with different emotions. Kids will certainly smile; but the message is serious," Henry said. "This is going to push students into a new way of thinking how they deal with their emotions when maybe it's harder than it was before (COVID-19) because we're all behind masks."
The first video will be available on Sept. 18.
The typical cost to schools for the digital videos and supplemental coloring book and activity sheets curated by the Johnson County Library System is between $300 to $1,000 depending on the number of students at the school.
Parents can rent the videos for $10 dollars for one week and watch it as many times as they like.
Each episode is about 10 minutes.
If you are interested in participating in the new "In the Workshop," video series, visit the Mesner Puppet Theater website.
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