Puppets are a brilliant way to engage young children, break down barriers and initiate communication. They can be an incredible teaching tool to help encourage imaginative play and so in turn help develop personal, social and emotional skills. Although of course the children in our classes never realise the puppets we use are helping them to learn and that’s just how we like it!
Choosing the right puppet and using them correctly is both essential and a skill. Puppets must not be intimidating and need to be sensitive and reactive to both a child’s age and needs.
Different puppets portray very different personalities. They can all be naughty, good, cheeky or shy but it’s important to choose and one that responds in a way that helps build a child’s trust which, in turn will encourage them to feel safe enough to explore unfamiliar situations and emotions.
At the very start of our Little Peoples adventure, we took our time to find the right puppet and trialled several. Finally we chose Pip.
Pip is a soft, very gentle, adorable looking rabbit who can also be very animated. Only once you get to know him does his cheeky side start to appear, very much like the children who attend our classes!
When children first see Pip emerging from his lettuce they are instantly engaged and the learning can begin. Time and time again we have seen Pip help the most shy child overcome fear and become engaged and animated. Children are fascinated by him and he helps them cross that line between reality and imagination, whilst encouraging listening and communication skills.
Pip is a very important part of every session and appears at the beginning to ask the children a question related to the particular adventure they are about to go on. He then is very well behaved and sits still, watching us go on our adventures and at the end offers ideas on how the children can continue their adventures at home.
I am also very grateful that Pip helps me sing the goodbye song. He’s very clever at remembering names!
He is definitely considered to be the favourite member of our Little People’s team by the children (and probably most adults)!