American Association of University Women — Fort Collins, Colorado

Thank you Betty Moseley, AAUW, for your detailed report on the positive impact of the
Purple Hands Preschool Program!

We undertook this project because of our belief that the best way to address violence and abuse issues of society is to start with educating and mentoring young boys and girls to be non-abusive. 

We completed this project and found that it is very successful, being well received by the teachers, the students, and our AAUW members.

How did they do it?

The Hands & Words materials have been found to be very valuable. We used the Preschool-2nd Grade Curriculum and other materials (bears, t-shirts, etc)

We planned with the teacher for a 12-week course; several of us went into the classroom one morning each week and did the music, reading, discussion, games, and crafts with the children. The children loved it! And, so did the teacher and her aides. The teacher next door asked us if we could come to her room to do it! ( we will be doing that and continuing in the present classroom – and maybe a couple more- this fall.)

 The teachers at that school noticed the children saying, “Purple Hands Bear wouldn’t do that!” and using the “kind words” on the playground. They began to help each other more!

Some of the parents noticed an improvement in the behavior of their children. The children learned the Purple Hands Pledge® easily and were always happy to repeat it.

The Purple Bear for each child is an essential part of the teaching.

A T-shirt for each student is very helpful, as are some magnets, pamphlets, etc., to send home. The families and extended families became interested and involved in the project.

We found that having these extras was more than worth the cost. AAUW had enough funds to buy those for this pilot project, and we have written a grant proposal to fund these items in the classes this fall. (The bears have been kept in the classroom; each child will get to take one home when school is out.)

Most teachers would not find this curriculum difficult to use but would probably like to have at least one or two trained helpers at times. AAUW will probably do some training for parents to help in the classroom next year.

It excellently supplements the bullying and safety programs already adopted by our Fort Collins school system.

Our local goal is to make such an impact in the schools where we do this project that our school system will adopt the Purple Hands Pledge® to be used in all the schools in kindergartens and/or lower primary grades and to reinforce it at each grade level.

Our broader goal is to reduce violence and abuse in our society and we feel that the many small efforts in various places will promote growth and understanding of non-abusive behavior.

The materials do not have any “religious” language that would be a problem for using them in public schools.

On the other hand, the teachings would be wonderful for churches to use with children!

“Over the past 140 years, AAUW has evolved to become the leading voice in advancing gender equity in education and workplaces everywhere. Through researcheducation and advocacy, we’re committed to ensuring that everyone gets the same opportunity to learn, earn and lead.” — AAUW