Dr. Elana Ashley
EXHIBIT at KOREAN CULTURAL
CENTER ART GALLERY, Wheeling, IL, All Ages, March 2012
"I found Dr. Elana Ashley's art truly inspired
and unique. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to learn more how paintings
and drawings can be stories in themselves and art is never defined in just one
way. In all, I was happy to have shared in someone's clear passion and love for
art. I had a personal connection with her City in the Sky piece. Not only was
the piece beautifully done, but it also provided insight into the mystery of
Heaven. Dr. Elana Ashley's ability to show artistic skill and depth is truly
Janet Pacanowski, Illinois Division, American Cancer Society,
EXHIBIT at NORTHBOOK PUBLIC
LIBRARY, Northbrook, IL, All Ages, September, 2011
"I had the pleasure of joining Dr. Elana Ashley
in planning the donated tray from the Pavillion Restaurant and Lounge and
attending her art exhibit at the Northbrook Public Library. I was very
impressed with the different styles and uniquesness of her work. Dr. Ashley is
very talented, and it shows in the various pieces of artwork she had displayed
throughout the library. My personal favorite painting is "Jungle Ferns." In
addition, I enjoyed her hats and jewelry very much as well. I was very
surprised at how many sponsors, friends, family, new acquaintances and
interested art seekers who came out to support Dr. Ashley. I wish the best for
Dr. Ashley in all the wonderful work she is doing."
Amy Mazur, Pavilion
Restaurant & Lounge, Northbrook, IL
Literacy Program based on Case One in Splunkey's Series and Literacy Donations - Books and CDs for Students in a First Grade Class at Brighton Park Elementary School
Teacher's Testimonial for the Program and Splunkey's Three-Part Adventure Package by Dr. Elana Ashley - December, 2008
"It was a great honor and experience for my students and myself to have Dr. Ashley in our school Brighton Park Elementary. The first book in her adventure series - Splunkunio Splunkey Detective and Peacemaker Case One: The Missing Friendship Bracelet - is a priceless tool for the students. The story has a multi-disciplinary message that the children understood and embraced. The characters Splunkey, Ellie, and Eli are a dynamic trio that delighted my students.
"The accompanying CD helps children develop reading fluency and guides them in their comprehension of the story. The teaching guide is designed with the purpose of supporting teachers and parents to maximize the benefits of this charming story. The book and teaching guide provide helpful tools that augment and enrich students’ lives. They learn to solve problems in a calm and effective manner. They also learn about anger management and the benefits of keeping a level head. Further, the guide reinforces their teamwork by providing group activities.
"I highly recommend the book, CD and teaching guide to educators, parents, librarians, and literacy coaches as invaluable resources for developing in students helpful coping strategies and a positive attitude towards life."
Maria Flores, Elementary Bilingual Teacher, Brighton Park Elementary School, Chicago, IL
Literacy Assemblies based on Splunkey's Three-Part Adventure Package by Dr. Elana Ashley – Case One: The Missing Friendship Bracelet, Audio CD and Teaching Guide for Educators and Parents - June, 2008
"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for your generous donation of your book, Splunkunio Splunkey, Detective and Peacemaker. Having you visit Canterbury in person was a real treat for our students and teachers and they loved receiving a copy of your book, as well.
Your enthusiasm in sharing your book with the children made for a very entertaining assembly and motivated the children to read. You also made it seem possible for each student to become a writer.
We hope other schools will have the opportunity to meet Splunkey, Ellie and Eli, three highly imaginative characters of immediate appeal to young students!"
Dr. Jan Grote, Principal, Canterbury Elementary School, 875 Canterbury Drive, Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Review of Splunkey's Three-Part Adventure Package by Dr. Elana Ashley – Case One: The Missing Friendship Bracelet, Audio CD and Teaching Guide for Educators and Parents
Review of Splunkey's Three-Part Adventure Package: RevieRe:
"Splunkey's Three-Part Adventure Package is a delight in creativity and originality. What child would not find this detective-peacemaker a source of imagination and dramatic fun!
Children ages 4 to 8 will be enthralled by Splunkey's mystery-adventure story which includes an English-Spanish version. The illustrations will intrigue both adults and children. The ieas of teaching compassion, respect and wisdom will elicit a thoughtful response from readers and viewers.
Listening to the audio CD, gifted children and young students alike further explore their comprehension and sensory skills through the personality portrayals in the voices of the storybook characters as recited by Ashley and through their sensitivity to the Hispanic flavor imbued in the original, background music.
A unique feature of the package is the English-Spanish component which evokes a large appeal to bilingual, ESL and other classrooms and their students. The book, the audio CD and the Teacher's Guide for Educators and Parents enable all of us as adults to work effectively with our children in understanding values we seek to impart.
Dr. Elana Ashley offers a splendid contribution to the classroom and the home through her book, CD and teacher's guide. Splunkey's three-part package is a wonderful source of fun, learning and literacy!"
Joan Franklin Smutny, Director, The Center for Gifted at National Louis University, Box 364, Wilmette, IL 60091-0364
UNIVERSITY, 30th Annual Early Childhood Conference -
2 talks presented on the topic of "Managing
Conflict at Home and in the Workplace"
- August, 2006
evaluations from teachers following the sessions asked what were
"'The best features of this activity
Instructor'; 'The speaker's passion for the subject and her sincerity'; 'Concrete
examples'; 'I loved the puppets!'; 'Conflict resolution graph';
'Sharing and application of material';'The opportunity to enter
into the discussion'; 'The hands-on approach with the puppet'; 'Specific
scenarios'; 'I learned some calming techniques to try.'; 'Your poem
was great.'; 'Enthusiasm of the speaker'."
really enjoyed Dr. Elana - excellent"
Handout was helpful. Loved the poem."
you for speaking. You have helped me and my friend more than you
of Educators participating in Dr. Ashley's Interactive Workshop,
"Managing Conflict in the Home and in the Workplace,"
August 19, 2006, Concordia University, River Forest, Illinois
Coalition of Title I/Chapter 1 Parents: 30th Annual In-Service Conference
"Building on Unity and Strength for a Better Tomorrow"
- Elana Ashley, Ph.D., The Workplace
Doctor, "Managing Conflict
at Home and in the Workplace"
- March, 2006
voice was clear and gentle. She has been one of the more relaxed
speakers. She is excellent and wonderful. I would love for her to
speak to teachers and principals, as well as students and parents.
Two thumbs up!"
was a very good presentation."
liked the way Elana works with her puppet. It [the workshop
issues and strategies] was interesting because it's a part of everyday
puppet presentation was nice. The information given was interesting."
enjoyable and informative; great ideas."
of Parents participating in Dr. Ashley's Interactive Workshop, "Managing
Conflict in the Home and in the Workplace," March 18, 2006,
Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois
Literacy Night - February, 2006
Elana Ashley and her puppets arrived at Orozco Academy's
February 17, 2006 Family Literacy Night enthusiastic and ready for
fun and adventure. Inviting some students to help her, Dr.
Ashley, the students, and her puppet, Ellie, told the story of Splunkunio
Splunkey Detective and Peacemaker .
Students and their parents then engaged in teamwork and creativity
to construct puppets to help them retell the story, or create new
stories at home.
Literacy Nights are a great opportunity for our parents and students
to connect through literacy activities and Dr. Ashley kept the crowd
enthralled and busy...Her book sends a message about friendship
that is important for students and their families to hear.
Everyone had a great time!
Connie Amon, Librarian, Orozco Academy, Chicago, IL
Literacy Night - November,
Ashley is an author of her new bilingual, mystery adventure in English
and Spanish. The name of her book is Splunkunio Splunkey
Detective and Peacemaker .
Ashley was gracious
to come spend the evening in our school this past November 2005
for "Our Family Night of Literacy." She was "Our
Celebrated Author" for this special evening of reading for
Our "Chase" families!
Ashley did a magnifiscent job sharing her puppet, reading her stories
while relating her enthusiasm and expertise for language arts with
our children and their parents.
found Dr. Ashley to be a tremendous catalyst in building enthusiasm
for sharing in our motivational "literacy" activities
for this Chase School Community Event.
Melvina Adams, Francine Sims, Lana Stallone, Literacy Team, Chase
Elementary School, Chicago, IL
Bilingual Reading, Role Play and Meeting a Storybook Character -
Elana Ashley donated
her time to speak to students at Merician Middle School in Buffalo
Grove, Illinois to help us celebrate a two week long event raising
money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina...
Monday, September 26, Meridian held a "Reading Extravaganza"
to celebrate literature, culminating this two week long event.
Dr. Ashley helped us celebrate by visiting a fifth grade classroom
and reading from her unique and inspiring book, "Splunkunio
Splunkey Detective and Peacemaker " - a clever bilingual,
mystery adventure told both in Spanish and in English. Students
took part in reading from the book by role playing the different
characters. In addition, Dr. Ashley delighted the students
with one of the book characters - Ellie the Elephant - who made
a personal appearance.
Ashley is a gifted writer and enthusiastic speaker. Her tale
tells of friendship, honesty, and thoughtfulness with imaginative
characters with adventurous spirits. She engaged the students
in a lesson about being a good friend and making good choices.
We enjoyed her presentation and will look forward to future adventures
of Splunkey and his friends.
M. Berg, NBCT, Aptakisic-Tripp Community Consolidated School District
102, Meridian Middle School, Buffalo Grove, IL
Bilingual Reading of Splunkunio Splunkey Detective and Peacemaker
Detective y pacificador Case One: The Missing Friendship Bracelet
Caso primero: El brazalete de la amistad desaparecido - Visit with
Puppet Storybook Character - Spring
Elana Ashley performed at the Berwyn Public Library on Saturday,
May 7th, 2005.
This is when I had the pleasure to meet her and see her captivate
an audience with her bi-lingual, educational, children's book entitled
Splunkunio Splunkey Detective and Peacemaker Detective y pacificador
Case One: The Missing Friendship Bracelet Caso primero: El
brazalete de la amistad desaparecido.
Dr. Ashley read her story, she maintained a quiet, captivated audience
of both children and adults as she dramatically took on the voices
of her characters in English and Spanish. The mystery begins with
a tragedy - the loss of Ellie's friendship bracelet - a bracelet
which is uniquely made out of authentic male and female dolls from
Mexico sewn onto a dark green, felt fabric.
Ashley's book is funny and educational, touching on important themes
such as problem-solving, friendship, responsibility, and the importance
of learning from people that represent cultures different from their
own. Ellie and Eli, two of the elephant characters in the book,
learn many important messages from Splunkunio Splunkey, the five
foot "alien" known for his detective and peacemaking skills that
are revealed in the story.
highlight of her performance was when she brought out her storybook
character Ellie Elephant. Dr. Ashley was wonderful at bringing to
life the dynamic personality of Ellie, who sang "You are my Sunshine"
and recited a great, long rhyming poem about swinging on a swing.
Dr. Ashley and Ellie made jokes until the crowd was at ease, laughing
would highly recommend this experience to anyone, particularly,
however, to Hispanic-American, bi-lingual children and their families.
While I'm not Ebert or Roeper, I give Dr. Ashley's program five
Villarreal, Youth Services Library Assistant, Berwyn Public Library,
of Splunkunio Splunkey
Detective and Peacemaker, Case One:
The Missing Friendship Bracelet -
Spring Program [April]
students enjoyed Splunkey: Detective and Peacemaker.
The book contains a compelling message about the importance of friendship
and teamwork. The mystery format allowed my students to formulate
their own ideas about what happened to the missing friendship bracelet.
This mystery kept them guessing until the end. It was very
Leslie Reddinger, 2nd Grade Teacher, Puesta del Sol Elementary School,
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
of Splunkunio Splunkey
Detective and Peacemaker, Case One:
The Missing Friendship Bracelet
and A Surprise Visitor [Children and Parents] - Summer
Ashley's program appealed to both children and adults. She
is knowledgeable about the importance of audience participation.
Her presentation about a friendship
bracelet was gentle, kind and friendly. Her friend, Ellie,
a puppet, drew an audible intake of breath.
Muriel Schwartz, Librarian, Evanston Public Library - North Branch,
Reading of Splunkunio
Splunkey Detective and Peacemaker, Case One: The Missing Friendship
Bracelet with Dr. Ashley and Visit with Guest Ellie Elephant - Nevada
Elana Ashley did a dramatic reading during Nevada Reading Week,
on Monday, April 26, 2004 at Jacobson Eelementary School located
at 8400 Boseck Drive, Las Vegas Nevada 89145. The students
were very attentive, and it was a wonderful assembly. The
assembly lasted approximately 45 minutes.
the dramatic reading, she used expression and dramatic voice variations
to portray her puppets in her own book she published and authored.
At the end of the reading, she shared with the students the characters
which were puppets. It was a rich and rewarding experience
for the students at Jacobson ES to meet and listen to a published
author discuss and talk about a book that was really hers.
It also was a positive interactivee experience for all the young
students at our school.
Shirley Wells, Literacy Specialist, Jacobson Elementary School,
Las Vegas, Nevada
Reading of Splunkunio Splunkey Detective and Peacemaker,
Case One: The Missing Friendship Bracelet with Dr. Ashley and Visit
with Guest Ellie Elephant - National Library
Stories 'n Stuff class of first and second graders, along with their
younger siblings, parents and friends, were delighted with Ellie's
and your visit. We were enthralled with your dramatic reading
of 'The Missing Friendship Bracelet.' The discussion that
you led following your reading made it clear that the children were
in tune with Splunkey and his methods of mediating disputes.
They could see immediately the feasability of such a misunderstanding
on the part of Ellie and Eli. The highlight of the evening
was your presentation of Ellie. The children were enthralled
with such a 'fashion-conscious' elephant. Thank you so much
for visiting our class and sharing your book and puppet friend with
Rund, Assistant Head of Youth Services, Morton Grove Public Library,
Morton Grove, IL
Digest 11th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards - Judge's
Critique of Elana Ashley's New Children's Mystery
Splunkey Detective and Peacemaker - what an original idea!
Using photography to illustrate this book was a brilliant concept,
and the author/illustrator has done a fantastic job of bringing
her main characters to life through her photographs. Kids
will love how Ellie, Eli, and Splunkey adorn the pages, acting out
the story and solving the mystery of Ellie's lost bracelet.
I can remembeer seeing books like this at the public library when
I was a child and wishing there were more that contained other types
of art besides watercolors and colored pencil drawings. It
is so wonderful to see people take their skills and utilie them
to create books for young readers. The photography is super,
and the creatures are really adorable. I can only imagine
the time ane effort the author/photographer put into making this
book a reality - quite impressive. This book would definitely
make a nice addition to any children's library, and I am sure will
be getting giggles for years to come. Very imaginative!"
Critique - Evaluation; Writer's Digest 11th Annuaal International
Self-Published Book Awards; Writer's Digest, Kristin Godsey, Editor;
Christine Mersch, Assistant Editor
||Dramatic Story Reading &
Song As Storybook Characters Come to Life: Splunkunio Splunkey Detective
and Peacemaker, Case One: The Missing Friendship Bracelet [Children
||"Your tapestries of songs and dramatic storytelling with puppet
adventures effectively captured the imagination of the children, as
well as their parents."
||Ronalee Rund, Assistant Head of Youth Services, Morton Grove
Public Library, Morton Grove, IL
|| Dramatic Story Reading & Song As Storybook Characters
Come to Life: Splunkunio Splunkey Detective and Peacemaker, Case One:
The Missing Friendship Bracelet [Children and Parents]
||On June 7th, an alien from outer space visited Highwood Library!
Splunkunio Splunkey® is actually a life-size puppet, the creation
of Dr. Elana Ashley. Dr. Ashley gave a delightful presentation involving
her many talents - puppetry, ventriloquism, storytelling and singing.
Both the children and adults enjoyed her original story "Splunkunio
Splunkey Detective and Peacemaker, Case One: The Missing Friendship
Bracelet", featuring Splunkey and Ellie Elephant, and joined
in singing favorite songs.
After the performance, Dr. Ashley answered
questions about ventriloquism, making puppets, etc. The children
were so enthusiastic that she showed them how to make their own
The Highwood Library highly recommends the
performance of "Splunkunio Splunkey Detective and Peacemaker,
Case One: The Missing Friendship Bracelet". Dr. Ashley has
a lovely singing voice and a wonderful interaction with the audience.
Values of peace, friendship and honesty are presented in a very
creative, entertaining manner.
||Joan Retnauer, Director, Highwood Public Library, Highwood,
|| Storytelling and Storybook Characters Coming to Life
[children and parents]
Thank you for the wonderful program that you gave here at the
Berwyn Public Library on March 29th. The children were charmed and
captivated by Ellie Elephant, and while they were somewhat in awe
of Splunkunio Splunkey®, he intrigued them and was a great role
model for "being unique" each in one's own way. Some of
the children were quite shy, and you interacted with them with just
the right touch. I would highly recommend your program with its
great "spokespuppets" and original stories!
||Nicolette Vaillancourt, Reference Librarian, Youth Services
Department, Berwyn Public Library, Berwyn, IL
|| Community Education: Healthy Eating Workshop - Storytelling
and Creativity [kindergarten - second grades]
||"Dr. Elana Ashley…[presented] a workshop entitled
'A Whole New View of Vegetables and Fruits' [at] Whole Foods Market
[in Deerfield]…which was part storytelling and part creative
craft…[Dr. Ashley] showed a great deal of enthusiasm, dedication
and commitment to this…class…[She has] a keen eye for
detail…great follow through…[and] the ability to stir
up excitement and emotion in the hearts of children...The attendees
raved about the uniqueness of the class, the professional performance
and her great presentation."
Joyce Chacko, Marketing/Community Relations Director, Whole
Foods Market, Deerfield, IL
|| Science Fiction/Fantasy Workshop [first - fifth grades]
||"Friendship, Fantasy and Creativity in Outer Space.was
both lively and original, and wonderfully creative. The children,
spellbound by the stories, group games, projects and especially the
life-size puppet, Splunkunio Splunkey®, found themselves mesmerized
for the full two hours. Dr. Ashley succeeded in keeping the group,
ages Kindergarten through fifth grade, both active and entertained.
The themes of cooperation, friendship and peace illustrated throughout
her stories appealed to every age group. Dr. Ashley's excitement peaked
each child's interest as she encouraged the children to participate
and helped promote a sense of self-confidence within the children.
Her approach led the group through her series of stories and beyond
to the group's cooperative telling of a short, fantasy story, as well
as each child's confident creation of a fantasy creature. Dr. Ashley
is inventive and supports the group while providing an atmosphere
that teaches children to explore their own creativity and originality."
||Mark Woolums, Recreation Supervisor, Youth, Teens and Cultural-Arts,
Deerfield Park District, Deerfield, IL
|| Storytelling and Singing [children and parents]
"On behalf of the Child Life and Family Education
Program at the University of Chicago Children's Hospital, we would
like to thank you for sharing your stories and songs with our children
and families…The themes illustrated throughout your stories
(i.e. being happy just as you are) helped to promote an enhanced
sense of self-confidence within the children. Thank you for reinforcing
just how special and unique each child is. The children involved
in the playroom and at the bedside enjoyed the performance very
much. Thanks for bringing smiles back to children whose smiles are
often hard to find during the stress of hospitalization. Children
in the hospital are faced with great challenges, from being uncomfortable
or in pain to experiencing invasive medical procedures. One of our
goals when working with children and families during hospitalization
is to provide an opportunity for them to engage in appropriate activities,
and enhance their ability to cope with the hospital experience.
Your visit certainly helped to meet this important goal as it provided
an educational and entertaining distraction for those involved.
Your energy and enthusiasm was wonderful and helped to keep the
children's attention. It was also nice to have a mixture of storytelling
and music. Through this mixed method, children were able to be active
participants, something we always encourage! It takes thoughtful
people like you to reach out to children and families in need. Our
program thrives from the support of visitors like you. We thank
you for making this event possible."
|Amy Sheerman, MS, CCLS
Special Event Coordinator
||Pat Manning, M.Ed., CCLS
Director, Child Life
|The University of Chicago Children's Hospital,
|| Creative Reading and Writing [kindergarten - second
"During the summer of 2000, as part of Worlds
of Wisdom and Wonder offered through The Center for Gifted, you
have once again demonstrated your talents at working passionately
to inspire young children in our intensive two week program series,
'Creative Reading and Writing.' The students in your classes responded
with enthusiasm to your warmth and teaching techniques, as did their
parents…You evoked a highly original, imaginative responsiveness
from your students in the writing of poems and stories. You stimulated
their senses and cognitive abilities through song and storytelling.
You enabled them to work with puppets, to dramatize, and to become
wholly involved in the process of creative reading and writing.
The products of these kindergarten, first and second grade students
were remarkable. You offered a framework of critical and creative
thinking, which utilized multi-faceted activities, materials and
strategies applicable to the growth of these bright children. Their
interest ran high, and there was a consistency of challenge designed
to stimulate thought and to open new avenues for student thinking
and responding to creative catalysts. I heard with such appreciation
of the effectiveness of the work you did with the students to challenge
and motivate these talented children. Thank you for an absolutely
splendid two weeks."
||Joan Franklin Smutny, Director, The Center for Gifted, National-Louis
University, Evanston, IL
Series [kindergarten - third grades]
||"Thank you for being part of our Character Education
Initiative at Edison this year. We were fortunate to provide our kindergartners
through third graders with presentations that were relevant and meaningful
related to the character traits, using an entertaining format of puppetry…The
teachers' rating of the six class sessions showed an overall good
to excellent in assessing student attentiveness and participation;
and the same in assessing the varied activities associated with the
individual classes. You must have been very pleased with the enthusiasm
generated by the incorporation of role play and puppetry. I appreciated
seeing the students' letters, drawings and poems done in conjunction
with the traits studied... Clearly, as children learn about honesty,
caring and all the traits important in our lives, educators must make
the lessons part of their ethos…you have come upon a significant
way to do just that. Good luck in your future endeavors related to
bringing these difficult concepts into children's lives with creativity
||Sheila Schlaggar, Principal, Edison Regional Gifted Center,
Stress Management Workshop [adults]
||"On behalf of the Thomas Brenan African-American
Specialty School's P.E.A.C.E. Program, I would like to extend a heartfelt
thank you for the very first informative in-service…Each year
as a part of our program, we give two to three parent workshops. Our
parents have indicated to me that your workshop was one of the most
outstanding that they have attended to-date. They especially enjoyed
the exercise activities for stress reduction and the self-esteem strategies.
You have such a warm way of making your presentation that it helped
make our group feel very comfortable and at ease. Your handouts were
informative and thought-provoking. Our P.E.A.C.E. Committee plans
to appeal to our principal to have you do a faculty stress management
workshop in the near future."
||Yvonne Alderson, Counselor, Thomas Brenan African-American Specialty
School, Chicago, IL
|| Conflict Management [sixth grades]
||"Great Imaginings, an Illinois not-for-profit corporation,
was contacted to do a workshop for our 6th grade urban
classes. Dr. Elana Ashley came to Irving Park Middle School to do
a full day workshop. In that time, she was able to reach out to over
100 students and direct them toward positive self-image and empowerment.
The topic was Conflict Management. The workshop correlated with the
training I was using in my classroom. It complemented and well exceeded
what I though was possible in a one day workshop. Dr. Ashley's ability
to relate to my students was remarkable. They connected immediately
and therefore the material processed was retained and is being used
by my students as a means of resolving conflict. My only regret was
that my students did not have more time with Dr. Ashley. Her expertise
and flexibility were an asset to a much needed aspect in education
-- character development. Hopefully we will be able to work together
||C. J. O'Brien, Teacher, Irving Park Middle School, Chicago,
|| Drug Education/Self-Esteem Assembly [kindergarten -
||"…thank you for coming to our school and speaking
to our students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. I particularly
liked your approach of improving self-esteem and setting positive
goals as an alternative to drug use. Although your presentations were
for the purpose and activities of Red Ribbon Week, I feel that you
gave the students a strong message that they can use in everyday situations."
||Nikki Miller, Fox Valley Lutheran Academy, Elgin, IL
Self-Esteem Programs [third grades]
"Our third grade students in the Beach Park School
District were very receptive to the workshop….After only a
few minutes into the program, it was evident that you had them in
full participation. I feel that your enthusiasm and the belief that
you have in your program are keys to success. Your information on
'Mental Strategies for Self-Esteem - Tools for Drug Prevention'
was clear and well-developed. The teachers were most impressed that
you allowed and encouraged each and every child to participate by
using the puppets. It was simply wonderful to have each of them
be able to talk about themselves in a positive manner. We hope for
future programming with Great Imaginings."
||Ruth Knabel, Beach Park Substance Abuse Prevention Committee,
Beach Park, Consolidated School District 3, Beach Park, IL
3-Day Conflict Management/Drug Education/Self-Esteem
Series [fourth - sixth grades]
||"Teachers and students…were very excited about
the 3-day series that Great Imaginings brought for each of our 4th,
5th and 6th grade classes -- a series combining
substance abuse and problem-solving, the conflict resolution process
and the development of positive self-concept. The students felt that
throughout the series you presented the material in a concrete way
that they could understand and internalize That was made clear to
both the teachers and myself by the ideas expressed continuously by
the students and by the kinds and numbers of questions that they asked.
The students liked the energy and enthusiasm that you brought to the
series. The multi-media teaching approach -- including discussion,
role playing, use of visuals, poetry and rap -- motivated students
to become actively involved. The concluding program on self-esteem
is well summed up in the words of one of our fourth grade teachers
-- 'Very motivating and inspiring. It was neat to see the kids find
the good in themselves'…You have helped our students to improve
their knowledge and self-awareness, as well as develop peer social
skills. Looking forward to future programming with Great Imaginings!"
||Jack Rocklin, Principal, Cleveland Elementary School, Chicago,
|| Self-Esteem Programs [sixth - eighth grades]
||"We thoroughly enjoyed the self-esteem seminars that
you presented for our 6th, 7th and 8th
grade students. 'Thank you' for gearing each program to each particular
grade level…teachers…stated that they felt all of the
material covered was most appropriate and very relevant to their students'
lives -- from learning about ways to build confidence and self-worth,
to taking control of conflict situations by role playing, problem-solving
techniques, to discussion of setting and achieving goals. The students…enjoyed
the combination of open sharing and dramatization, along with the
use of your powerful and motivational poem 'Celebrate the Excellence
Within.' The lithograph series added color and focus to the theme
of goal realization and positive self-development."
||Marianne Lulinski, Counselor, Tonti Branch, Chicago, IL
|| 4-Day Drug Education/Child Abuse Prevention Series [preschool
- eighth grades]
||"Thank you for presenting and providing stimulating
and effective drug education programs that are well-geared to various
age groups from preschool through junior high. This year, for the
first time, South Holland School District 151 schools are being joined
by Great Imaginings, Inc. in a cooperative effort to combat child
abuse and drug abuse. Your caring attitude and superior knowledge
of the subject make you effective with students at all levels of ability.
The creative and innovative approaches have been rated excellent…by
the teachers and staff at Taft Primary Academic Center [preschool
- 1st grade]. The Drug Education Child Abuse Prevention
Series presented in segments of one half-hour to preschoolers combines
listening skills, comprehension skills, speaking skills, memorization
skills, motor skills and dramatic skills…[It] has received rave
reviews and is considered a magnificent approach to actively involving
young children in realistic activities to encourage them to have the
right to say 'No'. I consider you to be one of those extraordinary
people who will always put forth a wholehearted effort…with
'GREAT IMAGININGS'…and amazing results… We have no doubt
that you will be awarded Channel 2's Samaritan Grant Program for Youth
Services Organizations. With the many opportunities available through
Great Imaginings, Inc., each and every child finds challenging, rewarding,
and often 'personalized' enrichment experiences."
||Annie Hurt, Principal, Eisenhower School, District 151, South
|| 8-Day Series: Conflict Resolution/Self-Esteem
[kindergarten - eighth grades]
||"On behalf of the students and faculty of Burbank
School, I am writing to thank you for your excellent presentation
to our students on the topic of conflict resolution and self-esteem.
Your delightful sessions were by far the most professional and comprehensive
of all we have had at our school. Comments from teachers and students
confirmed…[the importance of] being the best, building positive
self-esteem and targeting yourself for success. One teacher posted
a note for you stating how happy and thankful she was that you had
made yourself a valuable part of the students' experiences. She also
mentioned the many positive responses of parents….You really
worked hard in inspiring success in many students from many racial,
cultural and social backgrounds. We kept asking ourselves: 'Where
does she get all of that energy?'…What is expressed here should
be sufficient to display a taste of what you, Dr. Elana Ashley, and
your wonderful 'Great Imaginings' have meant to our Burbank students
and their teachers."
||Dr. Hiram F. Broyls, Principal, Luther Burbank Elementary School,
|| 13-Day Series: Drug Awareness and Prevention/Self-Esteem
[kindergarten - eighth grades]]
||"…The thirteen days of sessions were packed
with valuable information and well-developed programs and approaches
to substance abuse and personal safety issues, and the building of
positive self-esteem for students, instructional staff and parents.
Children in the primary grades were enraptured with your educational
puppet assistant, Ellie Elephant, who brought home the important messages
in honest, straight-forward ways they could understand and remember…The
large, colorful visual series, illustrated hand-outs and other printed
materials, along with your innovative use of music and rhythm, targeted
the children's energies and interest. Intermediate and upper grade
students eagerly participated in discussions about decision-making,
problem-solving and self-esteem issues…Teachers were impressed
with your excellent interaction with students of all grade levels,
and your ability to motivate them to think, express their inner thoughts
and emotions, and start making positive healthy choices…The
informative adult workshop - presentations on drug-related topics,
positive self-imaging and healthy, quality living - brought these
needed issues to the forefront of concerned parents in our community."
||William Moorhead, Principal, Mary Lyon Elementary School, Chicago,
Self-Esteem, Drug Education and Positive
Choice Series [kindergarden - eighth grades]
||"This letter of recommendation is being written to
endorse the high quality student motivational programming of Great
Imaginings and Dr. Elana Ashley. Wildwood School students in all grades
k through 8 participated in Great Imaginings motivational classroom
activities in self-esteem and positive choices…This year, our
school allocated all of our Drug Free School's money to purchase Great
Imaginings services. Great Imaginings' curriculum focused on high
self-esteem, positive choices and ways of dealing with feelings, self-respect
and motivation. All these characteristics are necessary for success.
These characteristics are sadly lacking in much urban youth. Students
were motivated by being actively involved at all times. They were
encouraged to share and interact with each other through role playing.
Incorporated into all of the programs were writing and problem solving
activities. Dr. Ashley demonstrated an ability to establish rapport
with all students of all ages. Her strategies and materials are versatile,
extending from rap to puppetry. She provided a comprehensive program
of integrating drug education throughout the curriculum. Dr. Ashley
provided staff development, student presentations and all necessary
materials. I highly recommend Great Imaginings and Dr. Elana Ashley
for a comprehensive drug education or positive choices program."
||Elena Savoy, Principal, Wildwood Elementary School, Chicago,
|| Drug Education Programs [kindergarten - fourth grades]
||"After having been very pleased with the Child Abuse
Prevention Programs brought by Great Imaginings last year, we were
thrilled to have you return to Bateman School to present an excellent
drug education series for our kindergarten through fourth grade students.
Kindergarten students listened attentively and enthusiastically as
you and your puppet companion, Ellie Elephant, spoke in simple language
about the safe use of medicine and staying healthy. Children clapped
appreciatively when Ellie concluded with her song 'Happy To Be Me.'
The first through third grade students enjoyed your very direct and
personable approach and were delighted by the common sense and fun-loving
nature of your teaching assistant, Ellie Elephant, as the two of you
introduced the children to beneficial and harmful drugs and their
effects. The colorful visuals focused the children's attention. Students
used their language skills reading the signs accompanying the illustrations,
answering questions and sharing their own ideas about the issues discussed.
Fourth grade students participated in a problem solving/decision-making
process which combined listening, thinking, speaking and acting skills.
Your use of discussion, question/answer, examples and illustrations,
and role playing of problematic situations brought children to a keen
understanding of choices, risks and consequences, and ways to say
'No' to people when it comes to drugs. 'High in The Sky Drug-free,'
the anti-drug rap song you wrote, concluded the program with a musical
bang. The rhythm and great lyrics, combined with hand movements, left
the students with a positive, excited feeling. Two important message
rang in their ears -- 'Be your own best friend and say 'No' to drugs!
Make healthy choices and live a drug-free life!' In the future, we
are looking forward to further programming with Great Imaginings in
the areas of drug education, child abuse prevention and creativity
programs fostering self-esteem. Many thanks for an outstanding job!"
||Rudy Lubov, Principal, Bateman Elementary School, Chicago, IL
|| Drug-Free/Self-Esteem Assembly [kindergarten - third
||"…the presentation 'High in the Sky Drug-Free'
was very worthwhile and the children benefited from the important
messages you conveyed. The handouts for the teachers and students
were extremely helpful. It provided a follow-up session for teachers
and students to reinforce the information on this important issue.
Thank you for the enthusiasm and expertise you brought to Dever's
||Joan Mentone, Counselor, William E. Dever Elementary School,
|| Child Abuse Prevention Programs [first - third grades]
"Dr. Ashley's program is an excellent supplement
to our Health and Safety Curriculum. She deals with a sensitive
subject area in a respectful and understanding manner. Her program
is necessary and important in today's complex heterogeneous society.
Children are taught to respect themselves and to use a forceful
'No' when being threatened with sexual abuse. In addition, they
are encouraged to 'Tell Someone'. She uses storytelling as a vehicle
to open discussions regarding problem-solving situations, and all
answers are respected and considered worthy. Her presentation is
a non-traditional approach which is refreshing and interesting to
the students. It is recommended that more of our youngsters be given
the opportunity for learning this self-protection which would help
assure their protection from harm."
||Dr. William J. Murawski, Principal, Richard Edwards School,
Drama and Creative Writing Workshop [primary
||"I would like to recommend a unique program to you,
[a program] developed by Dr. Elana Ashley. This workshop utilizes
drama as a basis for creative writing. The type of drama developed,
however, is very important in light of the familial, economic, and
social pressures which children face today. A number of my children
responded to this workshop with a sharing of concerns which not only
gave the teacher a better perspective of who and what they were, but
also identified some social and emotional needs which were addressed
through school intervention. In addition, most children reacted to
this experience with a positive feeling and a desire to share and
write further, even if they had no specific problems of their own
to address. I believe this workshop can also have a positive impact
on your children and strongly recommend it to you."
||Robert P. Storozuk, Principal, Philip Rogers Elementary School,
3-Day Child Abuse Prevention Programs
[kindergarten - sixth grades]
||"I would like to thank you for the three days you
spent working with Funston students. It was both a learning and entertaining
experience. The material that you present is extremely sensitive and
difficult. It was amazing to me that you were able to impart the information
in such a natural way. The students seemed totally at ease with the
presentation. It takes a real professional with a great understanding
of children in order to accomplish this."
||Sally Acker, Principal, Frederick Funston Elementary School,
Creative Writing Assemblies [kindergarten
- eighth grades]
||"…thank you for your recent assembly presentations…You
displayed a great deal of energy by presenting four dynamic programs
in two and one-half hours. You demonstrated the ability to quickly
"shift gears" in presenting your program to students of
different levels. By sharing your stories and illustrations with our
students, you helped to motivate them for our recent Young Authors
contest. It was important for them to see and hear an author-illustrator.
Your imaginative stories, complete with a life-size puppet, helped
to spark the creative energies of our children. Thank you for sharing
your time and talents with Park View School students."
||Kim Perkins, Principal, Park View School, Lombard, IL
||Child Abuse Prevention Programs [kindergarten - sixth
"The staff and students of Fleming School again
want to thank you for the terrific 'Personal Safety' sessions which
you presented to the kindergarten through sixth grade classes…Our
younger students are still singing "Ellie's Song", while
the older students are still yet debating the best way to handle
the various situations you outline. The staff was especially impressed
with the student participation you elicited even from our most reticent
pupils. And the PTA expressed the opinion that yours was an outstanding
presentation on matters of utmost concern to parents and their children."
||Joyce M. Seidel, Principal, Alexander Fleming Elementary School,
Child Abuse Prevention Programs [kindergarten
- third grades]]
||"Dr. Ashley uses originality in its purest form -
saying common things in an uncommon way. The medium of communication
through a puppet reinforces the learning process and acts as a motivator
by capturing and holding student attention. Receptivity is registered
on faces of youngsters eager to participate, and they reflect the
faculty of imagination, created by the character, ' Ellie the Elephant',
more perfect than others to which they are acquainted. It's a great
and important learning experience for the little ones. Teacher comments:
In our opinion, the presentation given by Dr. Ashley is most informative,
timely and well done. The primary grades should benefit from her program;
upper grade teachers would like to see a presentation by her. If such
a program can help even one student, it is worthwhile."
||Dr. William J. Murawski, Principal, Richard Edwards Elementary
School, Chicago, IL
Child Abuse Prevention: University Lecture/Workshop
||"Dr. Elana Ashley of Great Imaginings gave a presentation
on child abuse prevention at our Early Childhood Conference…Her
professionalism and dramatic style make her presentation not only
very informative, but also entertaining. She gave many good ideas
for children's programs relating to child abuse and children understanding
other problems in their environment. Ashley has made great strides
in educating children through puppetry and sharing ideas in an unthreatening
manner. I would recommend her programs for adults as well as her programs
for children - she does a wonderful job."
||Margaret Hafer, Director, Cultural and Community Programs, Moraine
Valley Community College, Palos Hills, IL
Storytelling and Puppet-Making [kindergarten
- third grades]
||"The children and teachers were most enthusiastic
about the fine programs…They especially enjoyed meeting 'Splunkey'
and afterward having the opportunity to make their own puppets and
use them in their own performance. To quote one of the participating
teachers, "Dr. Ashley's storytelling kept the students spellbound
and certainly motivated them to use their own innate creativity."
||Beth Elkayam, Resource Teacher, Alexander Graham Bell Elementary
School, Chicago, IL
Storytelling and Singing [children and
||"…I want to thank you and praise you for the
exciting program you provided… The children, as well as the
adults who were present, responded enthusiastically to your vibrant
combination of drama, singing and music. Your artistic interpretation
of literature geared to the specific age levels that were in the audience
was a professional feat. We are pleased that your presentation was
such a success with the diversified audience you encountered, and
we are still receiving many laudable comments."
||Eloise Burfisher, Head of Public Relations & Programming,
Des Plaines Public Library, Des Plaines, IL
Child Abuse Prevention Programs [children
||"Elana Ashley presented a key segment on personal
safety for the Safety Time program. Dr. Ashley was very professional
in her presentation and very cooperative to work with. Her enthusiasm
encouraged the audience and generated excitement in the program. Her
rapport with children is wonderful."
||Barb Nicolas, Recreation Supervisor, Rolling Meadows Park District,
Rolling Meadows, IL
Storytelling and Singing [children and
"I am writing to thank you for a wonderful puppet
performance in the Junior Museum for our Holly Days celebration.
Your performance was extremely entertaining and I found great pleasure
in seeing the young children enraptured by Splunkey. Your ability
to keep such a captive audience of very young children is a testament
to your storytelling and singing abilities. It was a pleasure working
with you. It's exciting to meet an artist with such tremendous enthusiasm
for her work. I wish you great success in all your future endeavors."
||Jean Sousa, Assistant Director, Museum Education, The Art Institute
of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Child Abuse Prevention Programs [fourth
||"I think that your presentation really left a favorable
impact on the children, judging from their participation and responsiveness
to you. Your skill of ventriloquism with your elephant puppet, 'Ellie,'
and your other audio and visual effects… all combined with your
sensitivity to the children to enchant them and motivate them to assimilate
and heed your cogent messages regarding issues pertaining to the prevention
of sexual abuse."
Arthur Levin, School Psychologist, Samuel Gompers Elementary
School, Chicago, IL
|| Musical Program [children and parents]
||I am writing to thank you for performing at the Lowe's
Syndrome Conference. Your performance was the highlight of the evening.
Ellie Elephant charmed the entire audience, both adults and children.
The boys with Lowe's Syndrome really loved the music. The songs you
selected to play were just perfect for the evening. Thank you again
for providing the entertainment for a very special group of boys.
||Diane Turcsany, Chairman, Children's Committee, Starlight Foundation
Child Abuse Prevention Assemblies [kindergarten
- fifth grades]
"The children's high
level of attentiveness in both groups [puppet program for kindergarten/discussion
with fifth grades] tells me that you are dealing with a topic that
children really want to know about. The children's comments and
their answers to your questions were relevant and focused, and it
was evident to me that your message was being clearly and accurately
received. Your level of comfort with the material very effectively
communicates to kids that this is a topic that is OK to talk about,
and this makes it more likely that they will be able to act on your
advice to 'tell someone' when they are touched in ways that make
them feel uncomfortable or confused. I think it was also good for
our teachers to have the opportunity to see you model a lesson that
deals with such an emotionally charged issue in such a straightforward,
but sensitive way. This makes it more likely that teachers will
be able to provide appropriate follow-through in their classes and
in their dealing with individual children who might choose to disclose
an incident to them."
Karen M. Valerio, School Psychologist,
Henry Winkelman School, Glenview, IL
"Dr. Elana Ashley presented her
delightful puppet, Ellie the Elephant, to our primary aged children…She
presented a "rap session" with our middle grade students.
Both programs were creative and to the point. Personal safety was
the theme of all presentations. Dr. Ashley handled this delicate
subject with poise. Each grade level was appropriately organized,
using situations and vocabulary at their level. Dr. Ashley is to
be commended on her work with children. The level of creativity
and originality in her program is stimulating."
Marilyn Helberg, Principal, Henry Winkelman
School, Glenview, IL
Storytelling and Singing [preschool]
"Our preschool class
truly enjoyed your puppet-story-singing presentation…Your
program made such an impact on the children that they discussed
and sang your songs throughout the day. I was especially impressed
with your combination of dramatics, literature, and singing, and
creating a program that was very suitable for very young children."
JoAnn LoScuito, Assistant Director, Fel-Pro
Day Care Center, Skokie, IL
Storytelling and Singing [children and
"Your program featuring puppets Splunkey and Ellie
the Elephant…showed originality and storytelling expertise.
Your enthusiasm and the variety of techniques used captivated the
children in attendance who ranged from age 3 to the middle primary
grades. You demonstrated sincere interest in the children's responses
and gave them a positive library experience they certainly will
||Linda Wicher, Children Services Coordinator, Lincolnwood Public
Library District, Lincolnwood, IL
Child Safety [preschool - kindergarden]
"All five groups [Tot Camp and Kinder Camp] were
excited about Ellie and enjoyed the presentation on child safety
with the emphasis on good touches and bad touches. The manner in
which the subject was presented was excellent and non-threatening.
There was no need for the children to be afraid. The camp supervisors
were amazed at the control you had over the children, which is a
quality worth commending."
||Darlene Lynam, Recreation Supervisor, Lincolnwood Parks and
Recreation, Lincolnwood, IL
|KidSafe - An Ongoing Child Safety Series [children (preschool
- eighth grades)/parents]
"Elana Ashley is involved in an ongoing program
on Child Safety with Highland Park Hospital, presenting a key segment
which deals with personal safety, privacy, touching and child abuse.
Dr. Ashley is a consummate professional -- skilled, knowledgeable,
and a pleasure to work with. She has become deeply involved in our
program, giving her time and enthusiasm and bringing a thoroughness
that far exceed our expectations. Her unique talents, the breadth
of her creative capabilities, her rapport with children, her ability
to handle and react to even the most delicate situations keep her
audiences involved and enchanted. She entertains and educates the
kids and their parents. In short, we are delighted with Dr. Ashley's
contributions to our program and look forward to a continuing association
||Chuck Block, Marketing Director, Highland Park Hospital, Highland
||Personal Safety [fourth - eighth grades]
||"I'd like to thank you for the excellent performance
on Personal Safety you gave to our Child Unit patients. The program
provided a non-threatening presentation on a very delicate topic.
You handled the issue with humor, warmth and seriousness that told
the children you cared. The staff was extremely impressed with how
quickly you were able to connect with the group and how you were able
to hold their attention throughout the performance. It was most informative
to watch how the children reacted to the material. You were also able
to motivate each child into participating and into disclosing personal
information. The staff also appreciated the time you took with them
discussing the presentation and their reactions. Thank you again for
a most worthwhile performance."
||Janet Pierce-Ritter, Director of Education, CPC Old Orchard
Hospital, Skokie, IL
Remedial Reading Programs [first - third
"Your exercises, puppets, songs and vocabulary building
activities were motivational to students and staff. Splunkey's difficulty
in reading simple words encouraged many students to read aloud to
'help' him, reinforcing the perception that they could read well
enough to help a six-footer. Thank you again for your stimulating
learning experiences and interesting hand-outs."
||Roger LaRaus, Ph.D., Curriculum Specialist, Evanston Public
Schools, Evanston, IL
Storytelling and Characters Coming to
Life [third - fifth grades]
||"Elana Ashley presented a lively and entertaining
program to the students of Nelson School. 'Splunkey,' the main character
in the science-fiction epic, became live through the animated storytelling
and the actual appearance of the life-sized puppet…The students
appeared to be enthralled following Splunkey's adventures from the
Planet Onyx. They asked questions about future happenings of Splunkey,
liked the excitement created, and asked for more."
||Elsie McAvoy, Reading Coordinator, Viola H. Nelson Elementary
School, Niles, IL
|| Science Fiction and Fantasy in Outer Space [children
||"In October of 1985, Dr. Elana Ashley introduced
her delightful puppet character, Splunkunio Splunkey, to an audience
of children and adults here at The Chicago Public Library Cultural
Center. Based on an original story, Dr. Ashley presented a program
of music, dance and slides with narration, which complemented an important
exhibition and major conference for illustrators of children's literature.
We were most appreciative of the extensive effort invested in this
event by Dr. Ashley. Her creativity and diverse talents provided a
memorable experience for our audience. In following her subsequent
career, we have been pleased at her continuing success."
||Sandra H. Royster, Director of Programs, Chicago Office of Fine
Arts, The Chicago Public Library Cultural Center, Chicago, IL
Great Imaginings, Inc.
An Illinois Not-For-Profit Corporation
P. O. Box 101
Northbrook, Illinois 60065-0101
© 2013 Elana Ashley,