Partners: Puppet maker and performer, Jenny Ellis and Ringwood Heights Primary School
Participants: Primary, Years 5 and 6: 75 students (involved other students across the school)
Artistic Discipline: Puppetry, theatre
Curriculum Focus: English, The Arts, Design Creativity and Technology, Interpersonal Development, Thinking Processes
Funded Through: Artists in Schools program

What do a giant octopus, a grumpy uncle, a caterpillar and a fly have in common? They are all giant puppets created by the students of Ringwood Heights Primary School. Brought to life, these puppets tell a story about overcoming fears, persisting in the face of obstacles and helping one another to fulfil dreams.

Ringwood Heights Primary School was inspired to bring puppeteer and theatre maker, Jenny Ellis on board as a facilitator and collaborator with the students and teachers to explore a story within a story: first, a tale about the personal qualities that help you succeed in life (Habits of Mind) and second, holding a mirror up to their own creation to ask "What makes a performance a performance?"

The teachers were keen to make the leap from 'content' based projects at the school to focusing on 'process understandings'. Through this project, everyone involved has expanded their definitions of thinking, creativity, leadership and action.

The atmosphere at the school is electric. The whole school is staging a momentous event, a huge outdoor performance, written, designed, made and performed entirely by the students.
-Randall, Principal, Ringwood Heights Primary School

Review the film clips and other resources from this project to find out how to:

  • Design a whole school of integrated inquiry. The school has embedded the project concept as an inquiry-based unit that has seen students work as co-creators and drivers of the project.
  • Base a project in Student Wellbeing and Interpersonal Development. Rather than focusing on subject content, this project really looked at developing the toolkit each student brings with them to learning and life.
  • Coordinate a large scale project in your school. The coordinating teacher developed significant tools and communication techniques to keep everyone on board, steering this large and complex project in the intended direction.