This week on Thursday we were lucky enough to have a visit from Mucky Pup Theatre who performed an adaptation of ‘Are You Sad, Little Bear?’
They delivered a workshop about bereavement and discussed the different emotions and thoughts that may come with this in a child friendly manner.
The themes are as follow;
Death and Bereavement A parent of children under 18 dies every 22 minutes in the UK; around 23,600 a year. This equates to around 111 children being bereaved of a parent every day. (Child Bereavement UK, 2017)1 The plot revolves around Little Bear dealing and tackling his emotions after the death of his Grandmother. Little Bear shows varying emotions and does not understand why he is feeling the way he does. He goes on an adventure into the forest to think things over and comes across his friends who offer him some advice and what it means to say goodbye. Nature & Seasonal Change Pupils should be taught to: observe changes across the seasons. (National Curriculum, 2013)2 Autumn is here and winter is just around the corner. The Tree is getting ready to go into dormancy, the leaves are leaving their tree and playing in the wind and the Swallows are preparing to fly to warmer climates. Little Bear ponders and is struggling to understand the change happening around him. Feelings Pupils should have the opportunity to learn: to communicate their feelings to others, to recognise how others show feelings and how to respond. (PSHE Association, 2017)3 Through his bereavement Little Bear goes through a varying range of feelings and emotions. His journey in the forest allows him to communicate how he is feeling to the friends that he meets and they each respond in their own unique way.
The story was broken down into different characters who had different emotions and memories;
Little Bear is trying to understand how he is feeling after the death of his Grandmother. He goes to find out, the only way he knows how, through an adventure. Mother Bear is the mother of Little Bear. She is kind and caring and has some tough news to break to Little Bear. Grandmother Bear is the Grandmother of Little Bear. Grandmother Bear has a strong relationship with Little Bear, they love reading and playing together. Tree is full of life and sass! Tree is chucking out their leaves for winter as they were so last season! The Leaves full of mischief and fun are celebrating their new adventures. The Swallows a family like no other! The Swallows are getting ready to leave the forest for the winter as they fly to hotter climates. Stream with a flowing personality and calm nature gives Little Bear some advice. Moon is a tired, old moon. He enjoys the night shift that he has but he just cannot stop sneezing! Sun who is joyful and beaming watches over Little Bear and the whole forest. Woodland Creatures are musical and entertaining in nature. They create the sound of the forest.
The Plot In the depths of a forest there lives a bear, his name is Little Bear. He lives with Mother Bear and Grandmother Bear. Each night, when the moon is up, Little Bear snuggles down with his Grandmother Bear to read stories. One night, after reading ‘Goldilocks’ Grandmother Bear tucks Little Bear in and says ‘Goodnight’. As the moon shines over the night sky, Grandmother Bear dies in her sleep. Morning has come and the sun is shining over the forest. Mother Bear has some tough news to break as Little Bear awakes from sleeping. After hearing the news that his Grandmother has died, Little Bear runs away from home and adventures into the forest. On his journey, Little Bear stumbles across Tree who is chucking its leaves out for Winter – is preparing for the new season of leaves to come out and its big long nap, which Tree’s call Dormancy. Little Bear is confused. Little Bear then comes across the cheeky and mischievous leaves who love to play in the wind – although Little Bear doesn’t feel like playing. The Swallows then burst in and are packing and getting ready to migrate to South Africa on holiday. Angry at the thought of leaving him, Little Bear shouts out that all is this change is just not fair! Upset and blue, Little Bear calls for the Stream to comfort him and she gives him some words of advice. Just before the Sun sets, Little Bear talks his feelings through with her. The Sun smiles and beams and tells Little Bear that he must return home to Mother Bear who must be missing him dearly. ‘Are you Sad, Little Bear?’ is an accessible performance which aims to explore grief, bereavement and loss in children in a sensitive way. The play addresses seasonal change and what it might feel to not know how you are feeling.
The children really enjoyed the experience and reflected on what they had learnt after wards during a feedback session.