Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I schedule a program?

Please fill out a request HERE

2. How much does a program cost in Vermont?  Are there discounts?

We work hard to find matching donor, business and grant support so we may offer subsidized rates for schools of $750 for up to three presentations and $250 for each additional presentation (up to five in one day). Our true cost is $2,500 for a full day (3-5 shows) and $1,600 for a half day (2 shows). If your school is able to pay our true cost, it helps a lot! Additional funding opportunities may be available. Please call 800-800-4005 and asking for Puppets in Education.

If you are located outside Vermont, please email us to request pricing.

  1. What lessons do the puppets teach kids?

Click here for our program listings

  1. What days you are available to perform?

Please click here for our calendar and look for days marked available

  1. What grades/ages are appropriate for your programs?

Pre-K to 8. For Pre-K and K we recommend one puppet program, approximately 30 minutes. For grades 1-4 we recommend two puppet programs, approximately 50-60 minutes depending on the topics. For grades 5-8 we will do a workshop which includes an optional 10 minute puppet play and the rest of the 60 minute workshop is interactive and chock full of information.

  1. Do you perform at festivals and events or only at schools?

Our interactive style of puppetry and educational topics lends itself best to educational settings.

  1. What supplemental resources do you have for teachers?

Please click here to see topics and workshops including links to “What to Expect” pdfs

Please click here to visit our Resources page

  1. What supplemental resources do you have for parents?

Please contact Karen Sharpwolf for parent resources. You can also visit our Resources page.

  1. What do you need from us in terms of space and tech?

We need electricity and for a workshop, WiFi and access to YouTube. Space on the floor for students to sit and chairs for adults works best. We have our own A/V equipment. We have a lot of equipment, so we will need easy access to the space (i.e. please not a lot of stairs).

  1. How big can an audience be?

Friend 2 Friend: Demystifying Autism Programs:
Puppet program: 40 (or two classrooms)
Simulation Game: 60 (or three classrooms)

All other PK-4 Puppet Presentations: 80 (approximately four classrooms), we can do more but the program is less impactful when the audience is bigger.

All other 5-8 Workshops: 40 (approximately two classrooms), we can do more but the program is less impactful when the audience is bigger.

We do not recommend mixing ages more than 3 grades apart, our programs are developmentally geared for certain grade levels. The smaller the audience, the bigger the impact! Remember, we can do up to five shows in one day.

  1. We are a small school, can we put all of our students in one performance?

If your students’ grades range more than 3 years, no. We tailor each program to the grade level, so even though we are presenting, say, Bullying Prevention to PK and grade 4, it is a very different program and conversation between the puppets and the students.

  1. What does a typical program schedule look like?

We are very flexible and can work with your needs. Since we get this question a lot, here is a snapshot of a typical day:

7:45 to 8:45 – Set Up
8:45 to 9:15 –  Grades PK/K – Feelings Puppet Presentation
9:25 to 10:15 – Grades 1&2 – Bullying Prevention & Feelings Puppet Presentations
10:30 to 11:30 –  Grades 3&4 – Bullying Prevention & Cultural Diversity Puppet Presentations
12:20 to 1:20 – Grade 6 – Bullying Prevention Workshop
1:30 to 2:30 – Grade 5 – Bullying Prevention Workshop
2:30 to 3:15 – Pack Up

  1. Do you train volunteers to become puppeteers? We can train people on an individual basis. Please contact us to inquire.
  1. I would like to sponsor a puppet show for a local school, who do I talk to? Thank you! 

Schools have a high need for the programs, but lack the funding. Make a difference for your school. Please contact Sarah Vogelsang-Card to inquire about school presentation sponsorship.

  1. Can we invite our students’ parents to attend the puppet shows?

Yes! We encourage this! In the case of our Abuse Awareness shows, we require it. We will provide an invitation for you to give to families tailored to your schedule.

  1. How do students react to the puppets? Do they really start talking to them like they’re people?

Often people tell us that they forget the puppeteers are there. Once students are focused on the puppets and their stories, children often open up and feel like the puppets are their friends. The puppets are non-threatening they are kids too.  Students share stories and give suggestions to the puppets. We always have school personnel in the room to follow up with students if there is something of concern that is brought up.

  1. What should a school consider when deciding what puppet shows to schedule?

Look at our program listing here and see which of our programs best suits each grade level. Do you have students with special needs and it would be great to have other students learn about it? Do you need support with your Bullying programs? We are here to supplement and support what you do. We are happy to weave in language that you are using in your own programs.

  1. How can I support the puppets?

You can make a financial contribution, or contribute your time. Contact us here.

  1. My kid is being bullied at school, how can puppets help?

Our Bullying Prevention Program is one of our most requested. We can come into your child’s school and present the program for grades PK-8. It opens up many conversations to address the issue in a deeper, more meaningful way after the show is over.

  1. I would love to catch a puppet show, how do I do that?

You can find our schedule here, if you do not have a child at the school, you will need to check in at the front office and wear a visitor badge.

  1. What kind of puppetry does PIE practice?

American Bunraku style with table top and direct manipulation styles. Our puppets are big, so our puppeteers need to stand right behind them. We dress all in black, with black hoods on our heads and a black background so we camouflage ourselves and you don’t really even notice us!

  1. Can my child write to the puppets?

Yes!  They always write back. Mail to:  Vermont Family Network, 600 Blair Park Road #240, Williston, VT  05495 or email Karen Sharpwolf here.

  1. What can you tell me about the puppets? Do some of them have disabilities or special needs?

We have a wide variety of puppets, and each has a unique story. We have puppets who have a learning disability, ADHD, blindness, Cerebral Palsy, bullying problems, abuse problems…but most of all, they are kids who share their stories with the kids in the audience in a non-threatening, open way. They invite the audience to ask questions or give suggestions.