The role of the puppet in creating curricular goals in kindergarten
The master's thesis, entitled The role of the puppet in creating curricular goals in kindergarten, focuses on using the puppet (in the broadest sense) for achieving curricular goals in kindergarten activities. The main purpose of the research was to set out the reasons for introducing puppets in all curricular activities in individual areas on the basis of theoretical grounds, viewpoints and experience of kindergarten teachers. Playing with puppets enhances social relations in class, unburdens, relaxes and establishes interpersonal relations, and enables nonverbal communication between the participants. The thesis outlines the views and research of certain authors who established that communication and socialisation are more successful if a child learns to manipulate puppets in the preschool period, thus reducing stress while communicating with unknown adults. In addition, teachers can identify the child's psychological processes while he is playing with the puppet: his emotional development, general cognitive development and imagination. In this way, the use of simple puppetry techniques while achieving curricular goals helps the child to learn comprehensively.
The empirical part of the master's thesis examines the opinions of kindergarten teachers about using puppets for achieving curricular goals. The results suggest that teachers have a positive attitude towards using puppets for achieving curricular goals from various perspectives: symbolic play, communication, socialisation, and creativity. However, they choose this option rather rarely.
We established that the method of working with a puppet as well as using and mastering the curricular goals with the puppet should be expanded. In addition, the puppet should be integrated into the kindergarten curriculum, because the majority of the teachers who daily use both the kindergarten curriculum and puppets support the idea. The teachers also confirmed that a puppet is an ideal means of conveying curricular content in the areas of art, drama, dance and music, but the teachers require more profound knowledge of other puppetry methods. They also feel that a puppet can establish a link between the child and an adult and between the child and the kindergarten.
The descriptive and causal non-experimental methods of pedagogical research were used in the thesis. The opinions of the teachers about using a puppet for mastering curricular goals were obtained through a questionnaire, which involved a five-level Likert scale with open-ended and closed-ended questions.