Using pictograms in a daycare setting-Part 2
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.
It is sometimes necessary to present corners to our group over and over again. Using pictograms that are meaningful for young children can help children recognize corners throughout the year. Again, identifying corners with pictograms does require a great deal of work, but it's worth it. After just a few weeks, children will be familiar with their environment and gain independence in terms of choosing which corner they wish to play in. Doing so also helps very young children function efficiently within their daycare group. Furthermore, they will require less help from their early childhood educator to find their way within the daycare and to choose their games and activities during periods of free play.
What's more, for added fun and to change your décor every once in a while, you can choose to adapt your corner identification posters every time you change themes. Of course, changing posters for a theme that only lasts a week requires too much work, but you may modify them for certain periods of the year such as Christmas or Halloween. Laminating your material will ensure it can be used for years to come.
Identifying different areas within your daycare
Children quickly and easily understand pictograms, just like adults. Of course, we all recognize the pictograms that identify the ladies' room and the men's room, stop signs, etc. If, like me, you feel like you are constantly repeating the same things day in and day out, I suggest you use pictograms to make your life simpler (and protect your voice as an added bonus).
Often, there is a single bathroom for all in a daycare setting. Display a pictogram identifying the bathroom at children's eye level. This way, children who are not in your daycare every day will be able to find the bathroom quickly.
Hot water/cold water
Universally, red represents hot water while blue represents cold water. Identifying your hot water tap with a red drop and your cold water tap with a blue drop will make it possible for children to better understand that they mustn't touch the hot water tap. Doing so will also help them at home since they will know that blue represents cold water and red represents hot water.
Identifying the area where each child must hang his/her clothing items and belongings with a different pictogram will help children find their things quickly. You may use the same logo or picture for all the children in your group and simply associate a different color to each child. It is however important that there is a distinct difference in the pictograms you choose to use to make them easy to recognize. If you wish, you may add a picture of each child to his/her pictogram.
Blankets and mattresses
Use a specific pictogram to identify each child's blanket, mattress, and naptime cubbyhole. This will help children prepare for naptime independently, even as early as 18 months of age.
As adults, we tend to spontaneously use words to refer to storage bins. However, these words have no meaning at all for children. For this reason, it is important to identify storage bins with pictograms or pictures that clearly represent the materials they contain. Once storage bins are clearly identified, children (even very young children) are able to put toys away autonomously. On a cognitive level, this makes practicing associating various items to the corresponding pictures possible. Here are a few tricks that will help you identify your storage bins efficiently:
- Take pictures of each bin's contents and use the pictures to identify your bins.
- Keep the pictures and illustrations that were on the original packages of the items found in your bins. Laminate them and stick them on the corresponding bins.
- Laminate the pictures you wish to use to identify your bins and use Velcro to stick them on your bins. This way, they can easily be removed and changed if you decide to add new items.
- You could also use a second copy of each picture to identify the spot on the shelf where each bin must be stored.
We all know that medication must be kept in a locked medicine cabinet. It is a good idea to identify your medicine cabinet with a pictogram such as a red cross or a character dressed up like a doctor. This will make the medicine cabinet easy to find for a replacement early childhood educator in emergency situations. It may also be a good idea to display a list of the contents of your medicine cabinet (thermometer, acetaminophen, etc.).
Use pictograms to identify cupboards and cupboard contents. One quick look will therefore make it possible for a replacement early childhood educator to, for example, find your walking rope or scissors. Not only do pictograms decorate cupboards and make them less boring, they are also quite useful. Your broom, arts & crafts material, reference books, a binder containing children's personal information, and a backpack for outings are all things that can easily be identified using pictograms or pictures.
Visit the educatall club for a wide range of pictograms that are perfect for identifying your daycare areas, cupboards, bins, and toys. The time you will invest finding, preparing, and displaying your pictograms will pay off and be appreciated by both replacement early childhood educators and the children in your group.
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