Some children have difficulty understanding verbal instructions and requests. Not understanding the expectations of a learning environment, what to do, or what will happen next can have a negative effect on a child’s participation and engagement in activities, routines, and interactions. Head Start staff can use pictures or visuals in a variety of ways to present important information in a way that helps children understand and use it. Visual supports encourage engagement and learning in many different settings — including in the classroom, at home, and in the community — as well as across routines and activities.
This high-quality collection of visuals and supports can be printed and used immediately to support young children's development and learning. Each visual support includes a guide that explains what the support is, why it might be used, and how to increase the participation, engagement, and learning of children in your learning environment.
These visuals show examples of common rules in early learning environments. Use them to teach children a variety of safe and positive behaviors. Post them in your learning environment and talk about them often with children. Model the behaviors and provide children many opportunities to practice them.
These visuals show examples of play areas and materials that are common in early childhood environments. They can help children understand what to play with and how to play, which supports children to engage more independently. Display these visuals in the learning centers within your program environment. Use them to label areas and materials. Have conversations about the pictures to help children get ideas for things to do during play and art activities.
These visual supports provide information about common daytime activities, routines, and transitions to help children fully participate and engage. Use the visuals to help children understand what they should be doing and when they should be doing it to increase independence. Create a daily schedule with the pictures so children know what activities will happen next. An activity schedule can also help children understand the parts of a routine with multiple steps.
These visuals support children in learning important social and emotional skills, such as emotion regulation, problem-solving, and friendship skills. Use them to help children recognize, communicate, and manage their emotions. Build children’s social skills using pictures of ways to initiate interactions with peers, comfort a friend, or solve a social problem. Talk about the pictures and encourage children to use them in different situations.
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning
Last Updated: February 23, 2024