Young people love to watch shows that feature puppets. And more importantly, they love to take part and perform with puppets. It's the thrill of being in front of an audience, to pretend, to have fun and to "bring to life" characters that may be as simple as decorated old socks or brown paper bags. It's so wondrous that even the most reserved and reluctant young person gets caught up in the excitement. But staging a show with puppets also takes effort, concentration, patience and practice, so these four concepts are an integral part of the process, as well. And just imagine the educational benefits that can be derived from pairing this
A herd of paper seahorses.
A cloth "Frog Prince."
experience with the exploration of a topic from the curriculum.
This multi-faceted program sets the stage, so to speak, with a fascinating "show and tell" of puppets from around the world. It follows with a simple hands-on puppet-making project, the rehearsing of a short play, and a final performance. It gives every student equal opportunity, and can be applied to large and
small groups alike: a single classroom, a complete grade, even an entire school. It is also easily adaptable to address a wide range of subjects. For example, previous workshops have explored forest ecology, the four seasons, urban and suburban communities, world folk tales, and life under the sea.
The recipe is simple: take a group of students, and expose them to the rich history and magical qualities of puppetry. Introduce new skills to help them explore an academic subject. Teach them to make their own puppets,and combine their efforts to produce an original dramatic
presentation, which they then perform for their fellow students, teachers, family and friends. The result is very memorable.
This workshop has the additional benefit of encouraging creativity and self-expression. It also guides young people to learn how to work together toward a common goal, and reinforces their understanding of mutual respect.
In terms of practicality, it can be adjusted to last from a few days to
a week, making it affordable and accommodating to busy school schedules. Each daily lesson is filled with enthusiasm, activity, laughter and learning. It also conforms to current Common Core Learning Standards.