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.


    This training 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 follow-up sessions.

    Puppets for Learning can travel to all regions in Victoria. Training sessions can be run at services. Services may wish to 'pool' funding to meet minimum participant requirements. Workshops will also be held in Melbourne (dates below).

    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 how to adapt the above learning to other modes of play and book-sharing

    2021 workshop dates:

    • Fri 12th March 2021
    • Fri 14th May 2021 
    • Fri 16th July 2021 
    • Fri 8th October 2021 

    Workshops are held at the University of Melbourne (Hawthorne Campus). There is ample free parking available and public transport in walking distance.

    Contact the provider to arrange workshops hosted by early childhood services.

    A Puppet Package containing a variety of puppets is also available.

    Detailed Costs

    Workshop hosted by early childhood service (Five hours of training and three follow-up contact sessions, up to 24 participants): $1800 (excl. GST)

    Attendance at Melbourne-based workshop (The University of Melbourne, Hawthorn campus – see website for schedule, includes 3 follow-up contact sessions, up to 24 participants): $350 per participant (excl. GST)

    The Puppet Package: Ranges from $357-$366 (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 to 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 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