by Mariana Caplea
The students at “C-tin Sandu Aldea” School, aged 10 and 11 years old, chose to express their creativity and artistic sensitivity through 2 folk-tales called “The Sun and the Wind” and “The Ant and the Dove”. Both of them feature human traits in the form of grandeur and strength on the one hand; frailty, helplessness and mutual help, on the other hand.
Our 4th graders were so eager to get closer to this world of the puppets that they tried their hand at making handicraft . The chosen story, “The Wind and the Sun”, fit them like a glove given the inexperienced, yet dedicated young puppeteers’ personality. Thus, the main characters of the tales were brought to life thanks to the children’ s involvement, imagination and, most importantly, the sheer joy of playing. They all contributed to turning such a simple story like this into a skilful performance.
The message of the story is easy to grasp: the wind and the sun race against each other in order to find out who is the best. Right from the beginning, they agree that the winner will be the one who succeeds in taking off the man’s coat and scarf.
It is clear that the children benefited from quite a cross-curricular journey since they became more aware not only of the English language, but also of the values inferred in it: respect, tolerance, competitiveness, self – esteem… Therefore, teaching social skills was another aim of the puppet play that we hoped to have achieved.
Mention must be made here of the fact that all puppets were designed, sewn by hand or drawn and cut out by the children themselves. A lot of care and attention were given to the actual making of puppets following long discussions with the teacher. Wishing to do their best, the young actors took into account everything connected with the content of the tale, such as : the plot, the characters’ moral traits , their interaction and how all these elements led to the final shape of their first theatrical performance of this type. Another example of good practice is the background in “The Ant and the Dove”, a drawing made by a student in the 5th grade.
All children were thrilled to bits to take part in this great puppetry experiment, making the most of the time spent during the rehearsals, filming and, why not, even the preparations. It certainly taught them the lesson of cooperation while dealing with their own emotions all the way to a well – earned sense of achievement.
In the long term, we aim to continue taking this amazing, magical path of the puppets with the strong desire of making learning the English language a fun, natural and enjoyable experience.