Are You Using Puppets to Communicate with Young Children?

 
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papertalker
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Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 206
Location: Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 9:55 am
PostPost subject: Are You Using Puppets to Communicate with Young Children?
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Puppets are probably as numerous as dolls in early childhood programs and centers all over the world. However, their use may be strong in one program and weak in another. They may be used only at a certain level of development, or not be used at all, for example, with toddlers who have not yet learned to talk. If studied and used more actively, the use of puppet-based 'play language' may reveal entire new areas of effectiveness at this level of education.

While many toys can be used only for a certain period of time and then retired, puppets are like the old Teddy who shares experience and grows with the child. Similar friendships can be lasting, and so can learning with puppets.

Here are some examples:

    * serves as a change of pace and signals a new activity

    * assists with tracking and visual development, hearing and tactile
    manipulation.

    * eases transitions from home to school by accompanying
    children on new adventures and tests of independence.

    * personal feelings of children are more apt to be expressed if puppets
    are a visible, accessible, and regular feature of life at school.

    * interpersonal activity in which children are learning to share and
    cooperate with one another can be managed and processed through
    puppet involvement and demonstration.

    * symbol puppets visually reinforce new words: cup, hair, eyes, ears.
    Varying puppet voices just slightly helps to maintain and direct
    the attention of children.

    * a child who must leave your program can take a puppet friend with
    her. The puppet can help ease the break she must make with
    familiar faces and surroundings.

    * the presence of puppets demonstrates care and relatedness. Puppets
    mean something warm to children and their parents. A parent who
    observes an interchange between a child and staff-member in the
    course of learning registers a positive emotional reaction. Once
    emotional needs are met, learning and exploring happen much
    more readily in children.

    * puppets inspire togetherness in play, rather than play alone.

    * workshops for parents promote your program, and place an exciting
    and practical tool in the parent's hands. Parents and staff can work
    together, 'playing with' approaches and problem-solving through the
    use of a puppet.

    * correcting behavior through the puppet third-party, when used in
    conjunction with other techniques, is effective.

    * staff fatigue and burn-out can be neutralized when puppets are used
    as a way of relating to children. When exercised through puppets,
    the communications process takes on a life of its own. Stress
    patterns normally encountered in the communication process can
    be avoided, orat least transferred to a more creative pathway, so
    that normal stress levels are not reinforced.


A program that establishes the use of puppets as a basic component of its communication with children will attract positive attention. Parent workshops or open workshops can be effective in building interest in your program, as well as staff pride and reputation. Puppets represent an emotional building block which parents readily accept and respond positively to. "We don't just have puppets lying around," said one member. "Puppets help call special attention to quality programs we provide. We know exactly what we're doing with them. We use them actively, but in another sense they are definitely a show piece."


Last edited by papertalker on Sun Jun 26, 2005 1:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MyrnaF



Joined: 28 Feb 2005
Posts: 1
Location: Tucson, Arizona

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2005 5:14 am
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Instinctively, children relate to puppets like a duck to water. As soon as a puppet is within reach, a child naturally picks it up and engages it. We have a puppet theatre in our classroom as a choice activity. I have seen children, individually or in a group, putting up his/her-their "show" for the sheer joy of it! The "script" evolves from greetings to all and sundry (non-sensical to "Hey, daughter, would you like to go to the movies?" Children enjoy a non-invasive atmosphere, but I keep my eyes open for potential rabble-rousing. Even then, I pick up my own puppet and say, "Hey, guys, I think we're getting too loud." At one time, I was taken (pleasantly!) aback when another child joined in with another puppet and said, " We're just having fun, Ms. Myrna!"
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elizabeth Mackay



Joined: 12 Feb 2005
Posts: 2
Location: Glasgow Scotland UK

PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 2:11 pm
PostPost subject: Puppets at Nursery school
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I use puppet in varied context. As head teacher of a nursery school (kindergarten) I use "Ted" at the initial start interview. I find it does help mum's to relax and it also gets the child talking, as even the littlest one answers Ted. This gives me an opportunity to observe the child's speech and ability to follow a conversation. It also puts the child at ease as most children probably own their own teddy so it builds security (my little ones are 3 years old).
I also use them to tell stories, I use them to introduce character's e.g Postman, fireperson ect. as a conversation starter.
This year we used our donkey to travel with Mary & Joseph to Bethlehem and he also was very happy to be 'interviewed' by our roaming reporter as to his view on the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. This was wonderful for building self confidence, thinking skills, language etc , it was performed in front of an audience of approx. 150-200 parents, community etc. It was also unscripted and the puppet allowed the child to have the necessary confidence We also had a supercillious camel puppet giving his views (unscripted) to the wise men as to the correct presents for a baby. Rolling Eyes
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suziwollman



Joined: 22 Dec 2005
Posts: 8
Location: Ukraine

PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 12:31 pm
PostPost subject: Teaching singing
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Hello, friends!

Forgive me for being MIA! I have not been teaching small ones for awhile, but I am still working on my curriculum that will use hinge puppets. Once recently, our music director at our church asked for ideas to help the youngest class learn a song. She couldn't keep their attention. I suggested letting the hinge puppet teach them, and voila! We had a full choir singing the song two weeks later.

Thanks for remembering me.

Suzi in Ukraine
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papertalker
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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 8:13 am
PostPost subject: The Real Choral Director
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Suzi,

When you can, please interview the choral director, and find out a little more detail about the puppet and how she pulled this off and some details about how the kids responded to her helper, and what it was like for her (especially if using a puppet was new to her). We would love to know.
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papertalker
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Location: Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:07 am
PostPost subject: Re: The Real Choral Director
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papertalker wrote:
Suzi,

When you can, please interview the choral director, and find out a little more detail about the puppet and how she pulled this off and some details about how the kids responded to her helper, and what it was like for her (especially if using a puppet was new to her). We would love to know.


Suzi, hi.

Is there any possibility we can pursue this? I am reluctant to intrude on your time, but I also know this is an excellent story.

Best to you,

Jeff
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Veronica



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 4
Location: usa

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:03 am
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Hello Everyone,
I have been doing childcare for over 5 years and bring the hinge puppets into my family daycare has been a great experience. Very Happy The children all love them. I teach different age groups (From 6wks- 8 years old) and I have been able to incorporate the puppets into our daily curriculum with all the children. The infants love to watch the bright colors and how they move. Using the puppets with toddlers has helped me keep them interested in what we are doing for longer than 5 minutes. Laughing With the older (school age) children they have enjoyed making their puppets come to life by creating a home, their likes and dislikes, and a short story about their puppet. I have even had the pleasure of showing and teaching some of the other providers what I have been doing with the puppets. I have enjoyed myself a lot and will continue to use the puppets in my family childcare.
Thanks
Veronica
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papertalker
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Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 206
Location: Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 12:03 pm
PostPost subject: Your Work
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Sounds like you've done an excellent job of integrating this medium. Are you working primarily by yourself in family daycare or do you have a staff? How have the puppets helped you find solutions for typical challenges faced by a childcare provider with what sounds like a fairly broad spectrum of children--infant to pre-K?

Thanks for letting us know about your successes.
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Veronica



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 4
Location: usa

PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:10 am
PostPost subject:
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I work primarliy by myself in my home. I have been using the puppets to help the children transition from one activity to the next. (example: using our clean-up puppet to help the children put their toys away, using food puppets to introduce new foods to them) I have found that they are more invlove with a story if the puppet asks them questions through out the story as oppose to me asking. I have also been using them to renforce how to use manners and how to share and take turn with each other. Thanks
Veronica
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papertalker
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Joined: 14 Dec 2004
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Location: Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:00 pm
PostPost subject: Multiplying Resources
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You say that you work by yourself. You began using puppets about 5 years ago. To what degree can you say that using the puppets is like having extra staff members or team teachers? Is that an exaggeration, or would you say that the puppets actually help to take the load and stress off your shoulders? Would be interested in your thoughts here.

Thanks!
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CelebrateLifeStories



Joined: 21 Oct 2005
Posts: 6
Location: Locust Grove, GA USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 10:03 am
PostPost subject: Turning a ho-hum lesson into a wow lesson in prek
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Puppetools has been a great resource for me. Last month I turned a boring lesson about tooth decay and brushing into a wow lesson for my preschoolers. That morning in the shower I was going over how I could make this lesson interesting - and it hit me! Make 2 hinge puppets, one a decaying tooth and one a shiny clean healthy tooth. I quickly made the puppets before I left the house and each puppet talked about how they got that way (healthy vs not healthy). It was great, the kids paid attention, and the lesson made an impression. After the lesson with the puppets the kids were enthusiastic about creating their own clean tooth art project. The puppets made all the difference in their enthusiasm for their own hands on learning. Without the puppets I doubt their enthusiasm for the subject would have been so high!
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Veronica



Joined: 18 Apr 2006
Posts: 4
Location: usa

PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 7:35 pm
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I have been using the puppets for the past year. They have been a great help to me. The puppets tend to act as a group of staff members that come to help out when the children are having a hard time following the rules. They also help to take some of the stress out and they help to show us how we are feeling through out the day. When the children are having a bad day (or moment) I will talk to them a part from the group and have them get the puppet that is feeling the same way they feel so that they can talk about why they feel that way. I mostly try to follow some of your guidlines to useing the puppets to help me to communicate with the children and to have them respond to me and the puppets as one.
Veronica
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lj



Joined: 07 Jun 2007
Posts: 3
Location: Iowa

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 11:23 am
PostPost subject: puppets in preschool
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I have used puppets in my preschool in a variety of ways. It has mostly been me using a variety of puppets to introduce concepts, review things, tell the children about something coming up etc. I always have puppets out in the choice area but I plan on having a puppet workshop area this year utilizing the hinge puppet idea. I am also planning to use the hinge puppets in conjunction with my other puppets to introduce new concepts. I would like to have my students be able to make their own puppets to tell their families about what we have learned at school. I am SO excited to add this! Play is crucial to early childhood education and this medium is a perfect but simple way to include it in all areas of the curriculum. I look forward to giving updates after school starts again in the fall. Very Happy
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ktan



Joined: 27 Nov 2005
Posts: 23
Location: India

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2007 12:31 pm
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Its great to read about all your experiences in your classes. I'm sure if parents too can be convinced about the power of play language, it can work wonders on the child.


Aparna
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