Christine Neff

As a special Education teacher for the past 23 years, I am all too familiar with the use of visuals to help children learn, develop and encourage positive behaviors.  In the last several years there has been a lot of research and support that suggests that using visuals with all students in the classroom can be beneficial to everyone.  In the preschool classroom, we use visuals for several reasons.  The number one reason is to encourage independence.  We use visuals to build our routine and then break down those routines to make mini routines.  Building routine within routines helps not only every student in the classroom but also helps children with challenging behaviors as well as developmental delays.

One of the ways we use visuals in the classroom is mini schedules.  We have a whole classroom schedule posted at the front of our classroom, but in addition to that schedule we have different parts of our day broken down into mini schedules.  For example, during our morning circle time we cover a lot of information.  We use visuals to break down the different parts of the morning circle so that the children in our classroom know what we have completed and what we have left to do.  To break this down further, we provide smaller versions of this broken down schedule to our students with challenging behavior or for children who have a difficult time staying with the group.  During this time they can manipulate their personal schedule as a way to feel in charge of their learning.