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The ‘Feeling Friends’ are helping students learn to talk about their emotions

“What’s the most important feeling?” a woman in a bedazzled bucket hat calls out to an auditorium of 300 young students.


“LOVE!” the students shout in response.


The word explodes from them, as if yelling it with enough force will transform the word into the feeling itself, and then Miss KK will truly know what she means to the students of Kimberley Park Elementary School in Winston-Salem.


It’s just another Friday at Kimberley Park, where Karen Cuthrell (aka Miss KK) makes regular appearances to read aloud to the students.


They know the most important feeling is love because they’ve met the “Feeling Friends,” characters created by Cuthrell and featured in the books she reads to them.


Kimberley Park has gone all-in with the Feeling Friends this year, embracing the curriculum Cuthrell built around her characters with the goal of supporting children’s social-emotional health.


The Feeling Friends are 12 animal characters, each associated with an emotion — Lotta Love the LovaRoo, Angie the Angry Tiger, Billy the Bully Goat, and their friends. The Feeling Friends curriculum includes books, songs, puppets, activities, and professional development led by Cuthrell.


Since adopting Cuthrell’s curriculum, Mia Parker, the school’s family engagement coordinator, has noticed a significant improvement in the behavior and mental state of the students and their families.


“She’s like a freakin’ goldmine,” Parker said. “There’s so many things that she does that resonate with our children. And with everybody, not just the kids.”



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