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Puppets in education

the puppets do so much more than teach.

They empower kids to talk about really
important and sometimes difficult issues,
including bullying, child abuse, drugs, autism,
health, and cultural and physical differences.
Educational approach

Puppets in Educations approach to education is unique.
The puppet kids discuss the topics portrayed in a clear
non-threatening manner. They also answer questions and
dispel myths by presenting accurate information and pro-
social skills and behavior that helps to build better
relationships. In addition to puppet performances,
presentations include workshops for upper elementary,
middle and high school students. This format is designed to
provide older, age-appropriate information and engage
students in brainstorm, role-play and simulation/life-skill
activities. Each school is provided with follow-up materials
containing discussion questions, classroom activities,
parent information handouts, bibliographies and related
research articles.

Puppets have long been versatile means of artistic expression,
communication and instruction. Working the edge between
entertainment and education, puppets can both teach and persuade. The
entertainment comes first. It draws us in, and once we have lost ourselves
in the world the puppets create, we accept the message without even
realizing that we are learning. Lessons learned in this way are more likely
to be remembered and to become part of our solid stock of knowledge.

Because they are characters, not people, puppets are the ideal medium
for discussing sensitive issues. Puppets create a world in which we
recognize ourselves and identify with the characters as the drama unfolds.
At the same time, a puppet show seems to hold a piece of safety glass
between the action and the audience. Although we are drawn into the
drama, we are not threatened by it. It is an extraordinary phenomenon
that an audience will accept from a puppet what would cause offence or
embarrassment if it came from a live actor.


Puppets are simple and safe. Their simplicity
allows an audience to hear difficult and sensitive
messages. A puppet can be a childs friend,
without demanding anything in return. It can say
what a child thinks, feel what the child feels, and
share in a childs challenges, loneliness, and
sadness. Puppets can also show a child that
knows abuse, exclusion and loss that there are
adults who want to help them to be safe and that
joy, love, caring and happiness exist.


Our primary focus is not entertainment. Children are more likely to
come away from our presentations remembering the issues
presented rather than the antics on stage. The puppets are effective
in delivering their message because there is a magic in the medium.
Around the office we call it Powerful Puppetry. The puppets are
large, colorful and lively. They capture the attention of children,
then offer information that relates to their lives. Watching a puppet
show allows the audience to reflect on what they see and hear it
engages parts of the brain that process experience & reason and
thinking things through. The scripts are open-ended so children are
put to work solving problems in a safe and voluntary way. The
puppets present social and behavioral concepts that audience
members can practice right there on the spot and then take away
with them once we leave.
Child Abuse

Many children come forward to report abuse after our
puppets explain that its happen to them, too. Over six
years, PiE visited 40 schools offering free
presentations. These visits resulted in 87 requests for
help as a direct result of our abuse prevention
programs (children disclosed physical abuse, sexual
abuse, witnessing domestic violence, and self-reported
abusing other children). Seven parents also disclosed
their needs (help to stop abusing their own children
and the need for support in domestic violence
situations). Counseling was immediately provided and
substantiation, investigation and prosecution by police
and state officials, in a number of these cases, resulted.

Kids reveal to us a wide variety of bullying situations
that they are the target of, or in some cases, are the
perpetrator of. In 2007-2008 PiE conducted a pilot
evaluation to investigate the impact of its Bullies and
School Safety program on students in three 4th grade
classes at a Chittenden County elementary school. The
purpose of this effort was to help document that
puppets are an effective means of educating children
about bullying and to measure any gain in their
knowledge and awareness about bullying and school
safety. All presentations were offered to the school
free. Although the sample size was small, the results
were impressive
Design statement
Designing puppets for kindergarten kids and
autism kids that can be as an educational tool
in the classroom, safe for the kids, and very
practically to use.
Design image
Target user
Kindergarten kids
Autism kids
Target market
kindergarten Parent that have
kids at home
Design objective
To combined existing and a new designed
To create a new and improve design
To design puppets that educational, safe, fun
to play with, and full fill the educational