learning through puppets & play
Puppets are fun. They’re fresh and interesting, they break down barriers, take the sting out of frightening issues, and they enable children to share thoughts and feelings in ways that come naturally to them, through play.
Puppets give children a voice: they have the advantage of deflecting attention, so even shy children can participate. There are lots of stories about how children will eagerly express things from ‘behind’ a puppet that they wouldn’t normally have the courage to talk about openly.
No Strings encourages children to explore different messages in a given film through a range of different puppetry approaches – big mouth puppets, stick puppets, shadow and table top, which appeal to older as well as younger children.
Puppets can be cheeky too, highlighting issues we rarely talk about in normal life – issues that may profoundly affect the community like open defacation, for example – and that can be very useful. And even the simplest of puppets can be surprisingly endearing, helping us think more deeply about empathy.
The process of making puppets and models is also a part of our methodology. Research has shown a powerful link between making and thinking; when we’re busy with our hands, our minds are less cluttered and we can form interesting connections.
For facilitators, puppets are a great way of stopping US from telling children what to think and how to behave. Puppets help us turn everything on its head so that it’s children who use puppets to process issues, learn from each other and show US through their own little sketches and stories how THEY connect with the film’s messages.
All we have to do is show them how.