When I work with children, I engage their innate sense of play. They certainly provide the energy! To create the puppet out of papier-mâché, socks, cardboard, or scraps is only half the fun. Bringing the puppets to life with our imaginations, hands, bodies, and voices opens us to surprises that build self-awareness, delight in one another, and awareness that we all have a wealth of stories and characters inside us. I am convinced that it is our creative selves that fuel our will to learn and grow.
In my residencies and workshops, children and adults make puppets and learn to bring them to life. We explore how to create a character first visually with the materials, and then with movement and voice. Given time, we enliven whole stories with puppets, props, and scenery.
I collaborate with teachers to find creative approaches to particular curricular needs. There is no academic subject or learning that cannot be enlightened and grounded with art. With a group of 5th graders, we created shadow puppet shows to stories of the American Revolution. In an assessment meeting afterwards with the kids, one child said incredulously, “We were learning history and had fun!”