Sock puppets rock with children
It’s not always easy being a kid. Many children arrive at school struggling with their emotions and worries.
In 2012, Lesley Bates of Social Socks was working for Feilding’s Manchester House as a child counsellor visiting children in their primary schools. She remembers thinking there had to be a better way to help the more vulnerable children.
‘‘There are many children who have had significant trauma and are shut down,’’ Lesley says.
Approached by Feilding’s North Street School to run a friendship programme for the junior classes, she enlisted the help of fellow counsellor, Shirley Jourdaine to develop a social skills programme. It was a success, and the Social Socks Charitable Trust was established.
Social Socks is a fun, interactive classroom based sevenweek one-hour programme that helps primary school children recognise and understand their emotions, to express them in a healthy way, and form good friendships.
It has now been run in three Feilding Schools schools, and five schools in Palmerston North, with classes this term at Somerset Crescent, Milson, and Terrace End School. The stars of Social Socks are Jo, Lucy and Zak, three large hand puppets who interact with the children.
‘‘Each session has a theme. In the first session, the children get to make their own sock puppets that they will use later to help them interact with each other. The children also have their own Social Socks workbook, and through songs and other resources learn about how to understand their emotions and be able to express them in healthy ways.’’
Milson teacher Shelley Thompson says they are really fortunate to have the programme.
‘‘I see the children being taught about their emotions, and how to deal with them. They get so much from the puppets, and from the arts and crafts that come with the programme.’’
Shelley, like other teachers has found that Social Socks learning can be incorporated into other areas as well as helpful ways of dealing with conflict. Teachers have also found it has helped them understand why a child is behaving in a certain way. One teacher commented that the children mentor each other, and have been heard saying, ‘‘I wonder what Lucy would do?’’ or ‘‘Zak says kind words’’.
‘‘It is such a privilege to be able see children’s eyes light up as they find their voice,’’ Lesley says.
Social Socks teaches kids social and personal skills using puppets. Shirley Jourdaine, puppet Jo with students clockwise from back left: – Jodeci Anderson, Noah Fairweather, Danni Long, Brittney Tavendale, Flynn McDermott and O’Shea Pereniko.