Jul 11, 2015

Felt Boards and Visual Communication

Visual communication is an important element in providing quality care in Early Childhood Education. Young children are learning new words every day. At the same time, Educators may be interacting with children who are learning a second language or children who have cognitive delays in communication. Visual communication helps language development for all children. A message that is being spoken will be sent more easily if it is combined with visual representation. Educators have a variety of ways to send messages visually, such as pictures in book, felts on a felt board, puppets and even hand gestures or signs. 

Learning Baby Signs is a convenient way to add signing to our communication process in Early Childhood Education. Baby Signs® was introduced over twenty years ago by two childhood development experts, Dr. Linda Acredolo and Dr. Susan Goodwyn whereby they extended on the basic knowledge that babies naturally talk with their hands.

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May 30, 2015

Using the Felt Board for Circle Time Transition

What is Circle Time Transition? 

In Early Childhood programs, young children participate in circle time. Circle time incorporates a variety of teacher directed activities. It is a time for children to build skills in listening, group participation, sharing ideas, learning and having fun.

The felt board provides Educators opportunities to provide children visual props to stories, songs, and games which teach concepts, such as matching or counting.

Another benefit of the felt board is to help with transitions. When circle or group time is finished, it is best for children to leave circle one by one into the next area. Often eating or going outside is the next activity after circle time. Circle time provides an opportunity for the other Educators to clean up and prepare for the upcoming schedule, and once ready, the children can move to washing their hands or getting ready for outside. If all the children leave the circle at once, and rush to the washroom or cubby room, it leads to problematic situations. So, a gradual transition out of circle time works best for classroom management.

Any pieces on the felt board can be used for transitions, simply by asking questions to the children. For instance, "Can you find me the bear?"

Other felt board activities, such as matching or sequencing, work particularly well with transitions and of course language development. In larger groups, in order to allow every child an opportunity to visit the felt board, you could ask children to bring pieces to the board, and then ask children to remove the pieces. In the flower example, 9 children bring a flower to the board to place in the right sequence, and 9 children remove one flower. But, with smaller groups, the children could simply take the pieces off. For example, "Jenny, could you please come to the board and find me the biggest purple flower?". When Jenny successfully completes this request, the teacher can ask the group, "Is she right? Let's give her a clap. Hooray!" Followed by, "Jenny you can go and wash your hands". The amount of time this takes with each child, will allow for a gradual transition.