Puppets are regularly used on TV to talk to kids about their emotions. Now, in North Carolina, there’s new research into whether using puppets to teach social and emotional skills in the classroom is effective. To date, 240 preschool teachers have been trained in a classroom management program and puppet curriculum called Dinosaur School.
Duke researcher Katie Rosanbalm is evaluating the program. She says children interact with the puppets at “a level of enthusiasm that you don’t see when a teacher is just leading a class,” causing them to absorb the information at a deeper level.
The study shows kids in puppet classrooms show significant improvement in identifying their emotions (“I’m angry”) and ignoring emotional reactions to problems (such as aggression). The benefits of the program even carry over to teachers who report they themselves use more positive behavior management strategies in class.
- Subscribe to Ways & Means podcast
- Look at a tip sheet for practitioners for supporting the development of regulation in young children
- Look at a tip sheet for the home setting
- Read more about researchers Katie Rosanbalm and Christina Christopoulos
- Read a transcript of this episode
- Incredible Years Dinosaur School is part of a series of interventions developed by psychologist Carolyn Webster-Stratton
- This study was funded by the Institute of Education Sciences
Music: Theme music by David Schulman. “Rate Sheet,” “Lina My Queen,” “Tiny Putty,” “Rose Ornamental,” by Blue Dot Sessions. Music licensed under Creative Commons attribution.