Papilio e.V.

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Papilio e.V.

Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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Heidrun Meyer’s PAPILIO program teaches kindergarten children how to recognize and express emotions using a series of simple toys and lessons, greatly enhancing their resiliency, improving the pre-school environment and preparing them to become active learners and successful students. This emotional literacy program is spreading quickly through a social franchise model that trains educators and is transforming early childhood education practices throughout Germany.

About Project

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Heidrun is changing the face of early childhood development in the education system through her newly developed, comprehensive approach to teach empathetic ethics and emotional literacy in German kindergartens. The program grew out of initial research from an international study on resilience factors for drug addiction and violence conducted in the Beta-Pharm research institute. Heidrun, who worked at the institute, recognized the broader potential of the research. Drawing from it, she developed the PAPILIO program to focus on building resilience factors in young children. She skillfully brought together a broad coalition, which included scientists, 100 kindergarten teachers, over 700 children, 1,200 parents as well as the world-famous puppetry Augsburger Puppenkiste (Germany’s most famous puppet theater), to develop the pilot program in 2005. One of the central elements of the PAPILIO program is the use of story telling to reach young children. Four puppets representing the emotions of anger, sadness, fear and happiness are introduced to the children without any judgment that one is better than the others. To teach emotional literacy, Heidrun’s model incorporates these figures, as well as other pedagogical tools in the form of children’s game, into the daily routine of the kindergarten classroom. The exposed children learn to communicate their feelings, to overcome irritations about the behavior of other children and grown ups, and to empathize with others. These simple instruments have measurable long-term impact, such as reducing aggressive and violent behavior, improving the working environment of kindergarten teachers as well as facilitating children’s transition from kindergarten to school. Today there are already 137 PAPILIO trainers who have trained over 3,200 kindergarten teachers, reaching 58,000 children across Germany. To date, the Augsburger Puppenkiste has performed the PAPILIO Story "Paula and the kobolds from the box" in 122 cities, reaching nearly 30,000 children. Heidrun is now at an inflection point. Having developed the program inside the research institute, she has negotiated to take the program outside of the institute into a separate organization, PAPILIO, e.V., which she has founded in order to take the program to the next level, and to create new initiatives for children under three years of age.