Puppetry and School Curriculum Content Standards

Edu-tainment Not Entertainment

Puppetry naturally engages young children in emotional development, and brilliantly shares the diversity of the world

“The most sophisticated people I know - inside they are all children."-Jim Henson

The educational value of some in-school performances, like puppet shows, may be lost on educators. However, Franklin Haynes Marionettes prides itself on providing focused, content-driven, high quality productions. For 30 years, we have strived for a balance between entertainment and education or, “edu-tainment”.

As a former bilingual elementary school teacher with a Professional Clear Credential, Franklin has created all shows to support social studies, science, language arts, language development (receptive and expressive), literacy and, of course, that they celebrate the visual/performing arts core curriculum standards.

This page was created to help instructors successfully establish a link between our shows and curriculum content standards. The information here will assist educators when filling out field trip request forms and purchase orders, and provide words and phrases that need to be included.  With Franklin Haynes Marionettes, children don’t just get a “puppet show.” They get a rich educational experience that provides a springboard for further learning opportunities in the classroom.

Social Studies Standards

Wording for purchase order or field trip request:  

 "Consultant will provide for children to have an interactive experience with marionette puppetry that enhance social skills, and to express feelings through role-play"

Core curriculum content standards in social studies require that children are made aware of holidays and other seasonal events that take place in their communities. The focus is not about the celebration or promotion of Kwanzaa, Christmas, Chinese New Year, Purim, Hanukkah, Halloween, Easter, etc. The focus is on an awareness of family, community and culture. (See NEA link: Cultural Competence)

Franklin Haynes Marionettes provides shows that create social/cultural awareness of a wide range of customs, traditions and holidays – multicultural and otherwise. There is Frankie’s 4th of July,” celebrating the traditions of our wonderful country. Core standards state, “students recognize national and state symbols and icons such as the national  and state flags, the bald eagle and the Statue of Liberty."

Our show “Las Marionettas en Desfile” creates awareness of Mexico’s Cinco d Mayo and Dia de los Muertos. In this bilingual show, children learn simple Spanish words like “por favor,” “gracias,” “hola,” and “adios.” It’s a great opportunity to increase awareness of new languages and promote both receptive and expressive language development.  We have holiday shows that explain why we have breaks during the winter and spring. Shows include “Santa’s New Sleigh,” “Frosty’s Magic Hat,” and “Springtime Puppet Parade!

We have a wonderful workshop with a collection of puppets from around the world for kids to explore. We teach about the French word “marionette,” what it means and how marionettes got their name.

We have characters that reinforce positive community values, such as Sparky the Fire Dalmatian and MC Hamster, who sings a fire safety rap song about not touching matches. We discuss how firefighters and policemen help the community. Standards state, “students match simple descriptions of work that people do and the names of related jobs at school, in the local community and from historical accounts.

We have Officer Mac Gruff, who talks about “stranger danger” and speaks during Red Ribbon Week about the importance of saying no to drugs. In our show, "Puppets On Parade"  there is Little Reggie on his skateboard who shows how to play safe by wearing elbow pads, knee pads and a helmet. In our show "Frankie's Toy Box"  Frankie's next door neighbor Lashundra shares her hoola hoop and learns how to get along with others. Standards state, “students understand that being a good citizen involves acting in certain ways. Follow rules, such as sharing and taking turns, and know the
consequences of breaking them. Learn examples of honesty, courage, determination, being safe and individual responsibility.”

Please contact us and ask how our puppet shows can support your social studies curriculum.

Science Standards

Science and art go hand in hand, and our puppet shows demonstrate this in many different ways. In our “Springtime Puppet Parade” we teach about the different seasons and how they bring change. Children learn about how flowers need sunshine mixed with a little bit of rain to grow.

In our “Simply Science” educational puppet workshop, children learn how we make our marionettes. We discuss all materials we use and Professor Puppet demonstrates how marionettes use simple machines like levers and pulleys. Kids are allowed to explore the inner workings of a professional marionette puppet head.

Science is everywhere in the puppet show. Professor Puppet discusses surface tension after Mr. Bubbles blows bubbles. He explains how the puppeteer uses gravity to manipulate a marionette.

We have a recycling unit, as well, where kids are taught to make environmentally friendly puppets out of common household items like water bottles, soap bottles, paper towel tubs, socks, old buttons, etc.

Please contact us and ask how our puppet shows can support your science curriculum.

 Language Arts Standards

Puppetry naturally opens the door to language development (receptive and expressive). When we return to a school, one of the most common comments is “the kids have not stopped talking about your show!” There is no other entertainment media that encourages children to exercise their expressive abilities – often without them even knowing it. What a wonderful springboard for rich language opportunities back in the classroom!

In our puppet show the children will explore – on an age appropriate level – the wondrous art of puppetry. A collection of puppet types from around the world – hand, rod, shadow, sock, finger and marionette – will be shared and touched.  Reading/language arts, literacy and writing are put in play at the conclusion of the educational workshop, as the children are read a classic story. After the story, everyone receives materials to make hand puppets based on the characters in the story! Teachers are encouraged to make the puppets with the kids. Children are invited to perform their own shows and write their own scripts.


Please contact us and ask how our puppet shows can support your language arts curriculum.

Visual and Performing Arts

Click Here For Standards

Marionette puppetry is considered a fine art.  It is the oldest form of entertainment and dates back more than 2500 years to ancient China – before Greek theater.  School administrators would not frown on having the children enjoy a ballet, or a musical quartet, yet, the word "puppet show" occasionally brings up images of mindless entertainment.

Once again, Franklin Haynes Marionettes prides itself on delivering almost thirty years of quality educational entertainment.  We are not just a "puppet show!" We provide edu-tainment!

Words to include in your field trip request form for visual and performing arts standards:
Artistic perception
Creative expression
Historical and cultural context
Aesthetic valuing

Please contact us and ask how puppetry will support your Visual and Performing Arts curriculum.

Puppetry plays an important role in Therapy and Education.  Find out more by clicking on POA logo below