By Mary Kaye Ritz
Decades after she first heard them, the words to "Conjunction Junction" still stick in the mind of Ann Marie Kirk.
The producer/director for TeleSchool knows how powerful catchy lyrics and hum-worthy tunes can be for keeping concepts long in the keiki brain.
Thus was born "Choices."
"Choices" is a nine-part series on character development geared to the K-2 set, each episode just 10 minutes long, that begins today. Each segment has its own character.
"Each character represents a different concept," said Kirk, who also has created a series for middleschoolers, "Voices and Wings," to be used for civics classes.
The program helps teach such concepts as responsibility and kindness, and can be shown in classrooms. Along with videos, which can be shown during class time or received free, there are lesson plans and stickers.
When Kirk tested them on nieces and friends' children, during a trial run, she said they worked so well, it was "chicken skin."
She found keiki remembered the songs, and prodding them on that, they began to let the concepts take hold.
"You plant the seed," Kirk said.
Teaching ideas such as doing the right thing even when no one is looking may not seem to have an immediate payoff, but ...
"As years go by, that little person grows and becomes part of community. If they can sing that (song) and start exploring what that means, that's a powerful thing," she said. "... As adults, we struggle with these things — what is honesty, what is courage?
It's all about choices, Kirk said, and how they create a ripple effect in the world.