Gingerbread Puppetland Program

One unique and powerful component of our school is our Gingerbread Puppet Land Program. It’s been a hallmark of the curriculum since our inception in 1974. Because puppets are extremely versatile, they are woven into a variety of daily activities and utilized for many purposes. They play a very important role in our school community, as they become well-loved characters that the children can easily relate to.

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We like to joke that “What happens in Puppetland, doesn’t stay in Puppetland!”

Puppets are brought to life during our daily puppet shows as the children are entertained with stories and songs. The stories provide opportunities to develop study concepts and foster early literacy and communication skills. The puppets are very effective in developing conscious discipline concepts. Strong feelings such as anger, fear, frustration, and excitement are part of children’s reality. Learning how to express these feelings in socially and emotionally healthy ways is something they need help with. Puppets can be quite effective in the process, as children are readily influenced by puppets in their thinking and behaviors. Common classroom conflicts can be modeled and discussed in relatable ways that the children can understand.

Listening to and having conversations with puppets can help children understand that not everyone sees a situation in the same way.

The shows are a fun and unique way to promote alphabetic and phonemic awareness and stimulate the children’s imaginations. As active participants, the children are drawn into the learning process. They form connections and are eager to join in on that day’s story, which may be celebrating events, making new discoveries, finding missing things, or offering help to the puppets.

Each letter of the alphabet has a puppet with a unique and engaging personality. Because we live in Florida, Lizzie Lizard is our Master of Ceremonies. Her role is to conduct the show and introduce a new puppet each week. Several other puppets are well known to the children, as they are used regularly to encourage positive development and practices in the classroom. A couple of examples are Alice Abbott, Eber Eagle, and Dodie Dog. Alice practices traits like impulse control and kindness. She will often make appearances during group time to share acts of kindness she has observed. Eber helps encourage and guide the children about ways to be environmentally responsible. Dodie’s focus is on safety. She will often share ideas and discussions about traffic, fire, and stranger safety.

Needless to say, we love our puppets! They are truly a fun and effective way to promote children’s overall development.