SRF Program

  • Using Puppets for Social and Emotional Learning

    VEYLDF Alignment

    Item uses these practice principles: Reflective practice, Partnerships with families, High expectations for every child, Respectful relationships and responsive engagement, Equity and diversity, Assessment for learning and development, Integrated teaching and learning approaches.


    Using Puppets for Social and Emotional Learning is run by a speech pathologist, Lucia Smith, who has used puppets successfully in her work with children for over 25 years. It consists of a 5-hour workshop and 3 brief follow-up sessions (via phone or Zoom).

    Through the training participants:
    • Learn how to use hand puppets in a way that is engaging to children (“making a puppet come alive”)
    • Explore current theories of social development and the levels of social understanding necessary for developing successful peer relationships
    • Learn about why children vary in their social and emotional capabilities
    • Explore the three types of puppet use applicable to the early childhood setting
    • Explore the Social Puppets program and discuss how implement it within a centre
    • Learn about Theory of Mind, deficits in Theory of Mind, and how to promote it using a puppet
    • Explore theories of emotional intelligence and its development
    • Learn how to model emotions using a puppet in order to promote a rich emotional vocabulary
    • Learn how to demonstrate emotional regulation using a puppet
    • Learn how to set up play-based learning with puppets to further reinforce social and emotional learning
    • Learn how to use a calming puppet
    • Learn the Tommy Turtle anger management strategy
    • Learn how to adapt the above learning to other modes of play and book-sharing

    Training sessions can be accessed in one of three ways:

    Option One: Puppets for Learning comes to you

    The training can be hosted by your service for up to 30 participants (you may wish to pool funding with other services in your area to access this training). 

    Suggested hours: 9.30 – 3.30 (with 15 mins for morning tea and 45 mins for lunch).

    Puppets for Learning are also happy to run training on a Saturday or a Sunday.

    Option Two: Attendance at Melbourne-based workshop

    Educators can attend Melbourne-based training days at the Hawthorn Campus of Melbourne University. There is ample free parking available and public transport in walking distance.

    Choose from the following dates (places strictly limited due to Covid-19 Restrictions):

    • Thurs 11th March 2021

    • Fri 12th March 2021  (BOOKED OUT)

    • Sat 13th March 2021

    • Thurs 13th May 2021 (BOOKED OUT)

    • Fri 14th May 2021 

    • Thurs 15th July 2021

    • Fri 16th July 2021 

    • Fri 8th October 2021 

    Option Three: Zoom training sessions

    Zoom training is run across two 2.5 hour sessions. You will be sent the training manual (on USB) prior to the training. 

    A Puppet Package containing six puppets designed to complement specific parts of the program is also available.

    Detailed Costs

    Option One: Puppets for Learning comes to you

    Workshop hosted by early childhood service for up to 30 participants: $1980 (incl. GST)

    Option Two: Attendance at Melbourne-based workshop

    Attendance at Melbourne-based workshop at The University of Melbourne, Hawthorn campus: $385 (incl. GST) per participant

    Option Three: Zoom training sessions

     Zoom training sessions: $385 (incl. GST) per participant

    The Puppet Package: Ranges from $357-$380 (incl. GST)

    Implementation Considerations

    Target Population: Educators.

    Program/practice descriptions and details: During the training workshop, participants plan a session applicable to their early childhood service and practise a mock session with specific feedback provided. The follow-up sessions prompt participants to be reflective in their current practice and plan for improvement. Any issues are discussed, and support provided to further the success of the programming.

    Staffing: Services should consider the cost of backfill in determining the cost of accessing this resource.

    Supervision/coaching: Three brief phone-based or online follow-up sessions are included to prompt participants to be reflective in their current practice and plan for improvement.

    Tools and systems: For service-based workshops, a data projector with sound is required.

    Priority Area

    Wellbeing (social and emotional)

    Strength of Evidence

    Level 4 – Emerging research evidence