Teacher of the Month: Kim Piergallini
This month’s featured teacher is Kim Piergallini, Afterschool Program Coordinator for the Cheston Cougars Learning Club (CCLC) in Easton, PA.
After participating in a Mutt-i-grees Curriculum workshop at the School of the 21st Century’s Victory Over Violence National Conference in the summer of 2011, Kim was inspired to bring the Curriculum to her afterschool program. She began implementing the Curriculum at CCLC in October 2011.
The flexibility and adaptability of the Curriculum make it easy to implement in an afterschool setting. As Kim explains, “There are many ways to expand the Curriculum once you get comfortable with the concepts.” According to Kim, first and second grade students enjoy the Achieving Awareness activities; students made paper bag dog puppets as they recognized what makes each of them special and what makes their dogs unique as well. Third and fourth grade students enjoy team-building activities. The highlight of the program in the eyes of the students is reading to the therapy dogs as part of Therapy Dog Thursdays.
Kim says the students at CCLC are very enthusiastic about the Curriculum. They connect with the content and they love the enrichment activities that are offered to supplement the lessons. Specifically, Therapy Dog Thursdays and yoga lessons have been very effective at helping to calm and engage students.
Kim notes that parents are just as excited about the Curriculum. She says, “When parents are told that the lessons teach social and emotional skills, 100% are enthusiastic and supportive, knowing that these are needed skills. So many parents tell us that at the end of the eight week program, their child has improved his/her confidence and self-expression.”