As another academic year comes to a close, Little Angel Theatre’s Creative Learning department is still in full swing delivering the final sessions of its courses and classes, evaluating projects and finishing off the last of its in-school workshops. This year in particular marks a milestone for the department as our residency at Islington’s Thornhill Primary School finishes its sixth academic year, and the school says goodbye to the Year 6 pupils who have been working with Chloe Purcell, our Puppeteer in Residence since they were Year 1s! These children have experienced something unique and sadly all too rare in today’s target driven education culture, where time spent on arts subjects is being constantly squeezed. Our Residency in Thornhill will continue and goes from strength to strength, with ever more inventive projects and the making of, and performance with puppets embedded into many different areas of the curriculum throughout the entire school.
In making puppets, pupils also learn about language, science, technology, art and drama. There are problem solving challenges, mathematical links and abundant skills development opportunities in handling and using different materials; which material is best for which job? How can I cut or shape this material? How can I join these two parts of my puppet? How can I make a mechanism so that my puppet moves in a particular way? – All fantastic opportunities for learning and developing initiative. In using puppets for development of ideas – e.g. in script writing, character or story development in literacy, or using them in performance, pupils develop confidence, focus and concentration and creative and imaginative skills. A puppet can unlock ideas and help a child who struggles to express themselves, it can ignite a spark in a child who might have previously been less than enthusiastic about creative writing, and it can provide a route into performance for a child lacking in confidence. As schools break for summer and teachers have a much needed chance to recharge, we’ll be busy in the office at Little Angel’s new Creative Learning Centre preparing for the next academic year, planning more residencies, workshops and projects and working closely with schools and teachers to develop educational programmes that excite and inspire young people. If you are a teacher, whether primary or secondary level, and would like to meet with us, discuss ideas for projects or visit our Studios to see what we can offer you, please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com. In addition, you can find details, photos and films of many of our recent projects on the example projects page of our website, and information about all of the work of the department, including courses and classes, training and professional development opportunities in the creative learning section of the site. School’s almost out – have a wonderful summer! Laura Halliwell, Community & Education Assistant, July 2015