On a regular basis I ensure that the children get involved in activities that support language development.
Playing with puppets certainly does encourage language. While playing with puppets I will encourage the children to use their own voices and words to make their puppets ‘come to life’. I will also model how to use funny voices / sounds to show how puppets can be used to entertain. The children really need little encouragement to begin making funny voices and sounds to represent their puppet.
When children have access to puppets they immediately begin putting them on their hands and making vocalizations. I will model the correct usage of language when words or sentence structure need support. The children appear to enjoy this spontaneous activity, making each other laugh and smile.
This activity encourages the children to use their words and to use their imagination. Therefore literacy and cognition are supported and challenged. It also has the children socially interacting with one another, as well as with the teacher.
Emotionally the children appear relaxed and happy during puppet play. Children have a natural desire to learn and to expand their knowledge and experiences, so what a fun way to support that. Children will support and encourage one another making learning socially and emotionally fulfilling.
So as a teacher being a role model, facilitator and play partner need not be difficult or intrusive. There are plenty of play opportunities to teach and model language. Encouragement makes children want to learn and remain on task.
Doing activities that simply appear to be play will make learning unobtrusive and fun.