Youth program offers thrills with puppets show

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

SYBENE — The 4- and 5-year-olds at the Sybene Head Start Center sit, squirm and squeal with delight as a group of puppets flop across a makeshift stage.

The puppets dance to the music as the children dance along, laughing at the antics of the stuffed characters.

“I love the puppets,” said Lyric Payne. “They’re funny and they make me laugh.”

Email newsletter signup

After each song, the youngsters were anxious for more entertainment, screaming, “Come out puppets, come out puppets.”

The puppet show was a special treat for the children — there are only two or three a year — and was in celebration of the Week of the Young Child, an annual nationwide event sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

The Youth Opportunity Program, an arm of the Workforce Development Center, put on the show. Head Start is partnering with the youth program through a mentoring grant.

“It’s very important that our kids learn how important they are to the younger kids,” said Tricia Damron, youth specialist and transportation coordinator with the Youth Opportunity Program.

This is the second year the 16-and-17-year-olds in the program have performed puppet shows, Damron said.

Steven Palmer, 16, of Ironton, said he enjoys being a part of the puppet performance.

“I love listening to the kids and making them laugh,” Palmer said. “I remember when I was younger and we would have puppet shows; I just loved them.”

Peggy Fuller, Sybene service area manager, said the puppet show is something that the Head Start students will be talking about for days.

“It (the puppet show) means a lot to them,” Fuller said. “It’s something that they don’t get to do a lot, so it’s special.”

The NAEYC says the mission of the Week of the Young Child is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.

Sybene will be celebrating the rest of the week with face painting and finger printing Wednesday and inflatable bounce houses, Head Start mascots Bear and Mouse and snacks on Thursday.

All of the other Head Start centers in the county will also be participating, though some at different weeks and times.