Communication and Langauge with Puppets

In our Dragonflies Room, we have been supporting the children’s communication and language skills by using their interests in puppets to extend their learning. Over the last few weeks we have found puppets to be a strong learning tool, as puppets are currently a high interest in our room.

Learning through play is fundamental to our children’s education, when children are highly engaged this leads to better learning experiences, helping to promote children’s development further. Puppets help to stimulate children’s imaginations as well as encourage creative play and discovery.

We have recently been using our puppet Charlie dog to help bring our story and carpet times to life. Charlie is our hand puppet and he has a workable mouth, which enables him to join in counting and singing all our children’s favourite stories and rhymes here at nursery.

Adding puppets to our carpet time has increased the children’s concentration, allowing us to provide more learning opportunities as they engage for longer periods of times. Using puppets has encouraged some of our quieter children to voice their opinions and interests out loud in front of their peers, which has been brilliant for developing the children’s confidence.

Using puppets has encouraged our children to express their own thoughts, fears and feelings and they have also encouraged positive behaviour within the room. In Dragonflies we are currently using puppets to explore emotions, as they can share happiness or sadness, they can misbehave or be good and they can be cheeky or shy. Our children have been so engaged with the puppets that they have been learning without even realising and they have had lots of fun.

The children have observed our puppets dancing, eating, sleeping, jumping, singing and hiding and we used this as ways to describe how the puppets may be feeling. This encouraged the children to talk about how they feel and talk about what makes them happy and sad. We extended this activity further by providing the children with small mirrors so they could observe their own facial expressions and this promoted positive relationships as the children took it in turns to listen and respond to each other.

We then used this as an opportunity to reinforce positive behaviour by giving examples of what makes us happy here at nursery. Puppets provide an essential link between learning and play which makes them wonderful teaching tools both at home and at nursery. Children naturally invent stories, create settings, develop characters, and utilize expressive dialogue as they play, extending their imaginations further. Using puppets helps children build positive relationships, learn about other cultures and make connections that are essential to understanding the world around them.

We have been gathering a variety of materials together to make their own puppets and we are very excited to see the learning outcomes this brings. We will also be buying two new puppets to add to nursery and together the children will decide on their names.

“The parallels that exist between children’s pretend play and drama provide the basis for extensive language learning in the early childhood classroom. Re-enacting familiar stories or situations promotes early literacy skills as children recreate stories and provide a context for interacting with adults and peers.”

(Soundy, 1993)

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