No Strings Attached: Supporting SEL With Puppets

For those educators hesitant about using puppets in the classroom, fear not—you don’t need the skills of a professional puppeteer. Puppets can be utilized in early childhood and elementary school settings for social and emotional learning.

The appeal of the puppet can motivate students, including those who are shy or hesitant, to engage in general classroom conversations or subject-specific topics such as science and conservation. The puppet can act as a role model and give children practice speaking in front of a group. It also offers protection, a buffer between children and their classmates.

Children are far more comfortable sharing their ideas with a puppet and may be excited about answering the puppet’s questions—seeing it as a friend or a peer. This relationship contrasts with the dominant position of the teacher, taking away or minimizing possible fears about getting the answer wrong.

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Video “How to Teach SEL” to Preschool Children with Puppets