Thoughts on Puppetry for the Very YoungPosted by Suzanne, on November 10th, 2009
I believe in a renewal of puppetry where it opens the heart and soul, and brings, through the visible story, a picture of the possibilities of humanness. The movements and gestures of the puppets, the colors, quality of voice and music, choreography, staging, and story content lifts the veil of the everyday consciousness and connects us all with the spirit worlds.
For this to be developed as a healing gift, we have the blessings of Rudolf Steiner’s wisdom to guide us. For the last seven years I have been researching puppetry for the very young. This has centered around two to four year olds in a pre-school setting, as well as birth to two years with their mothers. I am often sitting on the floor with a close circle of little children, creating our story space with silk over our laps and legs.
The puppet of choice for these ages is by far the soft wool roving lap puppet. The natural material of wool roving puppets bring a soft quality in color and form, which is wonderful for the young senses to absorb with their eyes and their touch. In fact, the porous quality of the wool invites them to sink into the story, poem, or song. They are held in this magic of this visual place, and listen deeply. There is air in the puppets to help them breathe. The gestures and movements are full of breathing rhythm and wonder. The puppets move slowly and with meaningful gesture so the childs senses can take in the depths of the movements.
The puppets have a living quality because the puppeteer ensouls them with inner wisdom, and love. It is a powerful medium to help young ones sit in peacefulness, find stillness, and allow the nurturing images to bathe their souls. To be honorable in our puppet work with theses purest of souls, we, as puppeteers, teachers, and parents, first and foremost hold the inner picture of these children in our hearts. We inwardly acknowledge their recent journey from spirit worlds, for they are wise beings choosing a new life destiny.
Our offering to them can be a beautiful bridge where spirit world and earth world begin to meet. We can offer a moment to re-connect with their spirit source in a sensory protected story world. Puppetry can also provide a joyful pathway to meet the wonders the earth has waiting for them through seasonal story, song, and verse. Here is a simple caterpillar poem to use with a wool caterpillar puppet made by wrapping colored wool around a pipe cleaner.
Try this on a warm summer day under the shade of a favorite tree. Fuzzy wuzzy with tickly toes, Here it comes and there it goes. Slowly crawling on my arm, Im sure could never do me harm. When I touch his velvet fur, He doesn’t even start to purr. Hell pause and lift his fuzzy head, And slowly crawl along instead. Oh slowly crawl along instead. Your puppet can crawl like an inch worm along the child’s arm. Make full use of the head lifting and looking around! With the aid of movement the flexible pipe cleaner gives, you can create a mood of summer, and the timelessness of observation in nature.