Using pictograms in a daycare setting
Pictograms are often used with children who face particular challenges since they can, among other things, serve as reference points within your daily routine. Strangely, we tend to forget that pictograms can be helpful for all children.
Of course, pictograms require a lot of work at first, but once they are all printed and laminated, they can be used for many years.
Using pictograms is especially efficient for groups that include children of different ages. They make it possible for younger children to follow routines and be autonomous.
Not only will they be able to follow along like their older peers, they will also be able to refer to the illustrations at any time to visualize a certain step or activity and therefore act independently.
To be efficient, an illustrated routine must:
- Be made up of illustrations that are representative for children
a. Avoid pictograms that are too abstract and can be interpreted different ways.
b. Choose colourful, clear illustrations.
c. Use pictures of children in action.
d. Your illustrated routine must be attractive for the children in your group. If for example, it is presented as a train, a clothesline, or a flower field, children will be drawn to it.
- Be accessible for the children in your group at all times
a. It is best to laminate the pictograms so children can manipulate them without having to worry about them getting damaged.
b. Display your illustrated routine on a wall, at children's eye level, so they can refer to it whenever necessary.
c. Your routine should be displayed horizontally, from left to right (the way a book is read).
d. Your illustrated routines should be displayed in the area where the routine will be completed. For example, your bathroom routine should be displayed in the bathroom or next to it so that children have a visual reminder of what they are supposed to do.
- Be used in a progressive manner
a. Begin by using the most important/basic pictograms and add new pictograms as you go along. An efficient illustrated routine contains 6 to 8 illustrations.
b. Avoid illustrating all your routines at once. Children would be overwhelmed and your routines would not be efficient. Begin with 1 or 2 routines (bathroom, meals, getting dressed, etc.).
At first, you may feel as if you went to all this work for nothing since you will not get immediate results. Keep in mind that children require time to fully understand and master routines. Some children will need to manipulate the pictograms while others will prefer to observe and analyze them from a distance. There are many different ways to use and adopt pictograms.
Luckily, you will quickly see results and the positive impact of using pictograms within your group. Although they will continue to require supervision, daily routines will become more enjoyable and require fewer interventions over time.
Several pictograms, posters, and tools are available in the educatall club.
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