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Dragon puppet show teaches Asian culture

  • Kids from the F.U.N. Center after their dragon puppet show. Recorder Staff/Joshua Solomon



Recorder Staff
Friday, June 16, 2017

GREENFIELD — Dragons from across Asia spoke to moms using the voices of a dozen or so kids.

What was going on was, of course, a puppet show.

Who was presenting? The children of the parents, who gathered in downtown Greenfield to watch a presentation three months in the making.

Thursday evening The Salasin Center’s Family United Network F.U.N. Center, put on a dragon puppet show as an effort for the families to learn about a culture they may not have known.

“We looked at what cultures are well represented in this area and what aren’t and the Asian culture isn’t so we wanted to expose that to our kids,” Salasin Center’s Vickie Hutchinson said, who was a co-coordinator of the project that was funded with a Mass Cultural Council grant.

Three months ago, families headed to the Springfield Art Museum and learned about different Asian cultures. After finding out a bit about them, the F.U.N. Center, which is run through the Salasin Project — a Western Mass Training Consortium program funded through the Department of Public Health — the children began to do research on various countries.

And it wasn’t just the children who got involved. For example, the backdrop for the puppet show was created by the center’s Women’s Art Group.

Fast forward to June, the kids, mostly first- and second-graders, put on a puppet show with details about cultures from China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand.

While they read their lines and showed off the puppets they made themselves, families enjoyed snacks like egg rolls and homemade sushi and Japanese tea.

All the while kids ran around, in and out of the set, in their elaborate costumes for the show, which were gathered from across the county.

“This is a little bit of the happy chaos we experience once a week,” fellow co-coordinator Stacey Langnecht said to the group gathered.

All families are invited to participate in the F.U.N. Center, which meets once a week. The center is a place for families from different walks of life to come together for a sense of community.

“You don’t have to have kids, you just have to like chaos,” Hutchinson said.

The chaos Thursday evening was in the form of a puppet show, which left everyone smiling.

Reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264