How do you turn a puppet into an effective educational tool?'
'The Hand Puppet as a Educational Tool' is an amalgamation of years of practical experience and insight gathered across various professional fields and educational settings.
Anyone who has utilized a hand puppet knows its transformative impact on children. Puppets have the power to spark spontaneous conversations, motivate otherwise unenthusiastic actions, and unveil facets of a child's personality that may have been hidden.
However, the puppet alone isn't the magic ingredient; it's the method in which it's employed that matters. This book seeks to answer an important question: 'How do you turn a puppet into an effective educational tool?'
Designed to be a comprehensive and interactive pedagogical asset, a hand puppet can aid in children's developmental growth, inspire boundary-pushing, facilitate self-expression, and offer a safe and approachable way to explore their surroundings.
'The Hand Puppet as a Pedagogical Tool' is an amalgamation of years of practical experience and insight gathered across various professional fields and educational settings. My aim is to not only inspire you but also provide you with practical guidance for incorporating a hand puppet into your work or personal interactions with children.
This publication is brought to you by helenmeurs.com, a platform I founded in 2004 to disseminate valuable know-how on the practical and pedagogical applications of hand puppets. I focus on deploying hand puppets in diverse environments, including homes, childcare centers, educational institutions, healthcare settings, and counseling services.
In this book, I want to share my love for the hand puppet with you. I didn’t play with hand puppets as a child, at least not that I know of, but that changed when I became a kindergarten teacher. Then I discovered the power of the puppet, got fascinated by it and challenged myself to reveal its secret. That puppet had something, I didn’t have, and I was curious if I could use it to help, for example, silent children, children with language delay or trauma.
It all started with Luca. Luca was a child in my class, a small boy with light-brown hair and big brown eyes. He didn't say anything in the circle, he didn't connect with me, and left me often with the feeling I was failing him. I couldn't give him what he deserved, and that frustrated me. One day, I took a puppet with me to the classroom. I had never done that before, I had read somewhere, some children react better to a puppet and I would try that out.
That moment with Luca, almost 30 years ago, was the beginning of my journey with the puppet. Examining the possibilities of the hand puppet for my role as an educator has been by far the most exciting, playful and creative journey I have ever made in my professional carrier. It enriched me and made me a better person and better educator.
I have come to know the hand puppet as a tool that all educators and teachers should have in their bag of tricks. A hand puppet captivates children's attention, tempting them to come out of their shell, to open up and to start communicating. It's astonishing how quickly the friendship between a child and a puppet can grow. The puppet naturally fits into the child's world and easily accesses his needs, his doubts, his feelings and his wishes. Imagine how many options that give you as an
educator, how many doors a puppet can open for you, how much information it can gather for you?
A puppet is just a puppet when you buy one, and it can become an educational tool. It isn’t automatically one. The difference between 'just' a puppet and a puppet as a tool is that the latter has a purpose. He's there for a reason and plans to build a relationship with the child. The relationship is the basis of all what he does. The puppet has his own voice, his own persona, and you decide how and when he appears. When an incident happens, when you decide this is a teachable moment, you take out the puppet. You decide the content and your puppet conducts the conversation, or activity because it is easier for children to respond to your puppet. That’s the whole idea.
Working with a puppet is fun, playful and sparkling. It is also a skill, and like any skill you acquire in your life, it takes time, practice and perseverance. The good news is you don’t need Hollywood qualities for working with a puppet as a tool. It might be a bit awkward in the beginning, it might be out of your comfort zone, but the payoff is phenomenal. Believe me, it’s all worth it.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1: WORKING WITH A HAND PUPPET AS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL 9
1.1. Working With A Hand Puppet Is So Much Fun
1.2. What Can A Hand Puppet Mean To Children?
1.3. What Makes The Hand Puppet A Safe Tool?
Chapter 2: WHAT MAKES THE HAND PUPPET AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL? 17
2.1. Characteristics Of A Puppet As A Tool
2.2. Different Kinds Of Hand Puppets
Chapter 3: WHAT CAN YOU USE THE HAND PUPPET FOR? 23
3.1. Using The Puppet To Achieve A Learning Goal
3.2. Using The Puppet To Stimulate Children’s Speaking
3.3. Using The Puppet To Make Children Feel Safe And Trusted
3.4. Using The Puppet To Challenge Children To Participate
3.5. Using The Puppet During Free Play Situations
3.6. Using The Puppet When Learning To Cooperate
3.7. Using The Puppet To Solve Conflicts
3.8. Using The Puppet To Stimulate Positive Social Behavior
3.9. Using The Puppet To Observe Children When They Play With The Puppet
Chapter 4: BASIC SKILLS 30
4.1. Handling The Puppet
4.2. The Technique Of Playing
4.3. Giving Character To The Puppet
4.4. Thinking About Your Questions
Chapter 5: BASIC ATTITUDE 40
5.1. The Relationship Between The Child And The Puppet
5.2. The Relationship Between You And The Puppet
Chapter 6: INTRODUCING THE PUPPET 46
6.1. Introducing The Puppet To Young Children
6.2. Introducing The Puppet To Older Children
6.3. Introducing The Puppet To The Home Situation
Chapter 7: CONVERSATION STARTING THROUGH THE HAND PUPPET 56
7.1. Chatting About Family And Friends
7.2. Chatting About Animals
7.3. Chatting About Nature
7.4. Chatting About Hobbies
7.5. Chatting About Favorite…..
7.6. Chatting About Everyday Things
7.7. Chatting About Dreams And Desires
7.8. Chatting About Yourself
7.9. Chatting About Feelings
Chapter 8: EXPAND ANY ACTIVITY WITH A HAND PUPPET 70
8.1. Facilitate Your Puppet
8.2. The Use Of Attributes
And Now? Getting started with the hand puppet! 77
About the author 78