Puppet Play in Early Childhood
A spare decor made with colorful cloths and a few props from nature (a branch, a rock, a pine cone) is pleasing to the eye. The gentle moving of simple puppets or marionettes (with very few features) in the pleasing colorful world allows the children to totally immerse themselves in the story, adding to it with their own fantasy and inspiring their imaginative play – with or without the puppets. The teacher who is moving and enlivening the puppets remains visible – thus reassuring the class while allowing her to perceive their reactions and make subtle adjustments to meet the children’s feelings. ~Marianne Bockli
Grade 6-7 Play Block
Taking inspiration from the Waldorf kindergarten marionette plays, this year’s oldest grade school students, Class 6-7, put on a puppet show for their class play. The students were involved in every aspect of the production. From designing and sewing the marionettes with our handwork teacher, Ms. Tucker, to learning from veteran Waldorf puppeteers Cherry Short-Lee and Joanie Dean how to move their puppets in realistic ways, to building the set, costuming the puppets, operating the lights, narrating the stories, and singing. They did it all!
A second inspiration for this production came from the student’s study of optics in this year’s physics block. A translucent screen was created through which a bright light source could pass. From backstage the students operated the dozens of 2-dimensional paper puppets they had made, including a praying mantis with moving legs, a sinuous water python with a flickering red tongue, and an angry baboon with flailing arms and legs. Color was added through the use of translucent gels, and a flashlight had a starring role as the Moon. ~Laura Purdom