Signs and symbols are important methods of communication. Often young children are interested, sometimes captivated by the signs and symbols in their environment. Signs and symbols can be intuitive, instinctive and children can pick up on their meaning quickly. I've found that by teaching children the basic signs and symbols they see in their environment, the child becomes more creative and starts writing and drawing their own signs and symbols. How do we approach teaching signs and symbols for a three-year-old?
I take a lot of photographs from around our neighbourhood. I use photographs in our nature journals, story and drawing prompts, as language cards and here I've made some street sign matching cards. By printing and using our own photographs the images have meaning to the child, it is reinforcing what they see in their environment.
This is a basic object to card matching activity that Otto loves. We see all of these signs on our nature walks so this work highlights or makes Otto more aware of these signs when we are out and about.
These wooden signs are perfect for using in block play too.
Learning about and exploring signs is good for developing visual discrimination skills.
These are some language cards that we keep in a small basket. There are around 12 cards of different signs and public notices that we've seen recently. We can put them out and talk about what they say and mean and give the child the language 'stop sign', 'bus stop'. This isn't about teaching Otto to read but more about getting a feel for the colours and images used and translating this into an action.
With a train set, model cars and/or in block play, model signs are fun to use. I also see Otto role playing (police, ambulance, fire fighters) with the cars and signs.
Most of all we look for and explore signs and public notices and discuss their real-life applications. I love it when signs like in parks and playgrounds are at the child's level.