Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Advanced Research in Education
“Puppetry and Opera Are Striking.” Students’ Experiences of Collaboration and Curiosity in Puppetry Opera as a Case Study
This paper will focus on the possibilities of puppetry and opera in early childhood education studies (ECE), and among children in day care in a class of twenty 4−5-year-olds. The research centres around 200 university students in the middle of a project on opera and puppetry in their ECE programme. Opera is about strong emotions (see Trevarthen 2012, 263), and puppetry is a vehicle to make feelings visible (Lintunen, 2009, Majaron 2012, 11, Scheel, 2012). Puppetry and opera can be used in collaboration, and they are combined in this ECE programme as a part of the university studies in drama and literary arts. A method called Pritney has been created to realize the project. The theoretical background consists of puppetry and literary arts. The paper will present some findings from cases in which puppetry and opera have been used experimentally with ECE students, and subsequently with kindergarten children. There is a need for collaborative encounters during the processes of puppetry and opera. Based on the observations and remarks of university students doing their puppetry and opera project, this paper considers the value of conveying puppetry and opera to a child audience as a stimulation for curiosity and emotions. All this reflection is followed by the examples of practice in ECE studies. Performing opera with puppets is beneficial. In summary, the artistic experiments created by puppetry and opera are valuable in transferring cultural heritage and creating aesthetic and pedagogical moments. There is also a short consideration of a project called “Rinnalla−Hand in Hand” (2018−2020) funded by Finnish ministry of education, in which the Pritney method is further developed (see also Suvilehto 2019).
keywords: drama education, early childhood education, opera, Pritney method, puppetry.