How the class bear turned into a jetsetting puppet

7th July 2015 at 17:09
It's a puppet!
Early-years classes may be familiar with the class teddy taking turns to visit the students’ homes, but Kirstin Botter, head of early years at Obersee Bilingual School, explains how her school has pushed the concept a little further

We wanted our children to connect with other children around the world, but we wanted a more interesting connection than many of the existing schemes to facilitate cross-country relationships offered. So we formulated a plan using our class puppets, Heidi and Peter (characters from Swiss author Johanna Spyri’s fiction book for children Heidi).  

We decided to send the puppets to early-years classes at other schools around the world and to set up a Facebook page where their progress could be followed. We would get the classes who participated to update this page with photos and stories of the puppets’ adventures and all participating schools could follow the puppets’ journey to other schools, too. 

We posted a message asking for willing participants on two different Facebook groups for teachers – within two days we had more than eighty schools signed up! Heidi and Peter will now be travelling to Dubai, Singapore, Spain, Brazil and the United States, to name just a few countries. The only cost involved for participating schools is the postage (the puppets must be sent by recorded delivery so that we can ensure their arrival at their next destination). 

We will send the puppets with an early-years friendly copy of the Heidi story. We believe that learning through play is fundamental to children’s development and we encourage teachers to use the puppets to “read” the story and bring the book to life.

The puppets can stay with each class for up to two weeks before they visit their next school; within this time the puppets can be used in role play, where the children can “teach” them about where they are from.

All our participating schools will also be able to connect via Skype or Facetime with each other so that the children can meet and learn about the different cultures and adventures.

Young children are curious by nature. Their desire to learn and openness to others provides the perfect platform to develop a strong sense of themselves, as well as other people, countries, customs and cultures. We aim to truly create global citizens and support our children to be creative thinkers and problem solvers who can approach challenges from more than one perspective. These puppets help us facilitate this and share our aim with other schools.

To find out more and get involved, contact Kirstin through the Facebook page


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