Designing Inclusive Art Experiences

Mesner Puppet Theater intern

Designing Inclusive Art Experiences

by Anabeth Laaker

Currently, I’m the education intern at Mesner Puppet Theatre. I assist the education director, Alex Espy, by teaching the summer camps, and working with pre-K to 6th grade (but camps are available for all ages!). In the fall, I’ll be starting at UMKC majoring in history.

Teaching Tiny Humans

On my first day, I was incredibly nervous. I wanted to give these kids the enriching experience arts education gave me growing up. The first couple of days were hard, figuring out how to best connect with the kids and tailor their experience to their personalities. I quickly learned how to go with the flow and go along with the kids’ fantastical imaginations.

Do they want to make their puppet a two-faced talking parrot with green hair? There’s now a two-faced talking parrot with green hair in our story. Awesome. Let’s do it. I’m also very passionate about making experiences like this as inclusive as possible for every child.

Kids with sensory issues, anxiety, attention deficits, developmental disabilities, or any other condition that might make a traditional classroom environment hard to deal with can find a place where their differences are embraced with arts education. All kids should be able to be confident and find their voice in a safe, encouraging environment. Creating an experience for every child to express themselves has been a joy to me.

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