This article from Psychology Today looks at a 2012 study documenting a continuous decline in creativity among American schoolchildren over the last two or three decades. The research suggests that play and curiosity are foundations for learning. They are also the bedrock of Waldorf Education.
This wonderful piece by Michael S. Roth, from last Spring in The New York Times, reminds us of the importance of an open mind, curiosity, and engagement: all traits that are cultivated in Waldorf Education.
Don't miss the puppet and marionette shows this Saturday, October 11, at our Fall Fair. Here is some background on marionette theater and its role in Waldorf Education, from our Early Childhood Chairs:
The Early Childhood teachers at the GMWS Fall Fair, October 11, perform a marionette puppet story. The silk puppets, props and set are all handmade and the selection of each story is carefully considered. We choose stories that offer windows into diverse peoples, give pictures of magical occurrences, and offer delight to our young children and adults. We are hoping each child will come to one of the performances at the fair.
Marionette Theater has a very special place in human history that begins in the South Pacific islands and Asia. There is a long evolution from the east into the west of shadow puppets, paper figures on rods, glove puppets and puppets on strings. The term “marionette” comes from “Little Mary”, when puppet stories were performed in churches in middle Europe. From that time, characters such as Puncinella and Punch-and-Judy spilled into the market places for children and adults to see.
Everything offered in the Waldorf early childhood programs is there with a full background of reasons of the benefits to young children. Marionette stories have the obvious feast to the senses of color and movement for the eye, music for the ear, and a story that stirs imagination and feelings. And, there is so much more for your child, and for you.
Puppet stories of all kinds offer special times for inner quieting, contributing to attention and concentration. Even our most active children need the balance of meeting their inner quiet. It is this place of inner sensing as an older child and an adult, where our thoughts meet the imaginations living in our heart and we are then able to perceive the resolve for our next steps to any situation.
The stories give the picture of a little world that is whole and becomes fully realized- there is a problem to solve, obstacles to overcome and every character receives the deserving fruits of their efforts. Our children must first experience a world that is good and whole, if they are to become adults who can meet a world that is riddled with issues and needs mending. In our marionette stories the puppeteers are visible. Regardless of your personal beliefs and religious practices, this is the picture that there are other forces and elements at work in the world that assist our intentions with love and support us in our challenges.
The indications we work with come from Rudolf Steiner and his intensive work with people in a children’s home after World War I. He believed fairy tales, told in this medium, gave comfort and healing to children in those devastating times.
Parents find their way to the Waldorf school because they recognize something here that is in harmony with their wishes for their children as they guide them into our complex world. In these simple and delightful tales is rich food for all the children and adults at the school.
On Saturday, October 11, at our Fall Fair there will be three performances of our marionette puppet show, “Talking Eggs” (for children 4 yrs and older). Show times are at 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3:00pm.
In addition to the marionette performances, we are offering a table top puppet show, “Autumn Bear” (for children ages 2 to 4 yrs. old). Show times are at 11:00am, 12:30pm and 2:30pm.
On behalf of the Early Childhood teachers, we hope that you and your child will join us for one of these special performances.
Warmly, Leslie Burchell-Fox and Lisa Miccio Co-Chairs of the Early Childhood Section
“The Pedagogical Values of Marionette and Table Puppet Shows for the Small Child”, Bronja Zahlingen, An Overview of the Waldorf Kindergarten, WECAN Publications.