Child’s Play

PARKERSBURG – Learning to look past differences was the lesson taught to students at the West Virginia University at Parkersburg Early Learning Center Thursday.

Tammy O’Neil, a student and volunteer coordinator for the Service Learning Class through the University Players, said the script for the show “Why Frogs and Snakes Never Play Together” was from teachingtolerance.org.

“The whole idea behind it is teaching tolerance and teaching diversity awareness beginning with young children,” she said.

O’Neil said the story is one about how two groups that are not friends are able to get past their differences when they see how similar they are.

“Two families of frogs are out playing in the jungle and they happen to meet a family of snakes. The children have no inhibitions and they play together all day long,” she said.

“The frogs teach the snakes how to hop and catch flies and the snakes teach the frogs how to slither and squeeze and hug. At the end of the day they are elated and make plans to play again,” she said.

In the show, when the frogs and snakes get home, they are told by their families they cannot be friends because snakes eat frogs, but they hope they may be able to get together later.

O’Neil said the eight students involved in the production began working on the puppet show for the pre-kindergarten students in January.

The students involved in the program were volunteers from the communications-journalism, theater and education departments.

O’Neil said they hope to have the show next year.

“We’d like to take this to the community and share this with the schools,” she said.

For more information contact Jeffrey Byrd, instructor in the theater education and humanities division, at 304-424-8295 or O’Neil at 304-834-5678.