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Widgit Online: Quick and easy Visuals in a Childcare Setting

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Widgit Online: Quick and easy Visuals in a Childcare Setting

Why Use Visuals? 

We know that visual representation of ideas is an effective way to communicate new concepts and important information. We also know that using visual representation along with other formats such as verbal or text explanation increases the likelihood that the idea or information will be understood and remembered. This is true for people of all ages, but it is more important for young children who are non-readers and for those for whom English is a second language.   

 

The Problem: 

Finding just the right copyright free image is time consuming and is often not satisfying. Pictures found in internet searches: 

  • May include too much clutter to clearly represent an idea 
  • May not be copyright free 
  • Usually only represent objects as opposed to ideas  
  • Don’t often represent abstract vocabulary 

   

How We Use Visuals: 

In a childcare setting, there are many different opportunities for enhancing the engagement of children using visuals: 

  • Creation of daily schedules to facilitate transitions 

  • Labeling closed bins to facilitate finding and tidying up items/toys   
  • Creation of “All About Me” stories about children to take home 
  • Creation of digital portfolios in preparation for transition to school 

  • Supporting role playing in the dramatic play centre  

 

  • Promoting language and letter recognition 
  • Creation of materials for foundational activities such as sorting, matching, etc.
  • Supporting self-regulation (e.g. expressing emotions, social stories)

 

Visuals are also useful for communication with parents, especially when English is not a first language. Examples include:

  • Helping to orient new parents to the centre 
  • Requests for items/materials to be sent with a child to the centre    
  • Newsletters and communication of important messages 

 

 

Easy Access to Visuals:  

Widgit Online, available through Louise, Kool & Galt and Bridges Canada, allows for the creation of visual materials in a web browser using over 20, 000 Widgit Symbols and hundreds of easy-to-use templates.  

  • Symbols can be customized to include culturally appropriate skin tones and specific colours.  
  • Materials can include symbols only or symbols with one or two languages.  
  • Digital images that are required for childcare centres can be easily uploaded to the library from a hard drive. 
  • Copyright free digital images can be searched and uploaded to the library. 
  • Materials can be easily shared by members of the same organization. 

 

Download this free material on Feeling and Emotions Charts & Fans from Widgit Online

 

Join us for a webinar on Wednesday, September 28th at 5:30 pm with staff from the Centennial Childcare Centre to learn about how they are using Widgit Online and about the positive impact it has had on their staff, their parents and their children.  

 

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  • Amreen Shafiuddin
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