The Character Tree Expands its Offering to Kindergarten

Short videos featuring puppet students and “gray squirrel” teach classroom citizenship and character development to young learners

The Character Tree, an online resource that teaches character development though engaging videos and downloadable activities, has expanded to offer videos and content specifically for kindergarten-aged students. The videos are short and feature puppet characters sure to appeal to the youngest learners while they teach lessons on classroom citizenship such as hand-raising, full-body listening and other skills that are important for children who are just starting school.

A 2020/21 subscription to The Character Tree includes 36 episodes, 18 original songs, 36 sets of parent’s guides and 36 sets of useful supplemental resources. The videos are appropriate for use in classrooms, especially in live virtual classrooms, child care centers and for parents at home. To sign up, visit:

“Our first set of videos this year focused on students in grades 1 and 2 and we had such an amazing response that we are expanding to kindergarten,” said Bill Apperson, chairman of Apperson which created The Character Tree. “These lessons will help young students make that tough transition to school and teach positive character traits that will serve them well into the future.”

The first 12 episodes in the series focus on classroom citizenship topics. The next six episodes discuss a positive character trait like what kindness or honesty means. The following six episodes show how a person at a school (such as the principal or custodian) exemplifies a positive character trait. The remaining 12 episodes each highlight a positive character trait and a prominent figure who exemplifies that trait, like kindness and Jane Goodall or perseverance and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Character Tree’s lessons are standards-aligned and each comes with a teacher’s guide and printable student resources which are available in both English and Spanish. Bill Apperson’s daughter, Sara VanderWel, 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. VanderWel has served as an early elementary teacher for more than a decade. 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.

About The Character Tree

The Character Tree is an educational video subscription series designed for K-2 students. The subscription includes 36 character education videos to either kindergarten or first/second grade, 36 sets of supplemental resources, and 36 teacher’s guides. Every episode, hosted by a real first-grade teacher, discusses classroom citizenship or an important positive character trait exemplified by prominent figures like Kindness & Jane Goodall or Perseverance & Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For more, visit

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