In a preschool setting, more often than not you’ll find that all normally endowed children learn in two or more languages. At home, this begins right from the birth of the child, the innate visual skills come to the fore as early as a few weeks into life. The power to recognize and recall is the basis of visual literacy. It is a concept that is age old and needs no introduction. As preschool accreditation agencies like QualityKG are coming up with high-quality preschool development programs the structured curriculum is seeing radical advancements and with that visual learning is also gearing up to fit into a new and improved learning system.
Whew! Sounds confusing right? That is what I had thought when I was reading up on visual literacy. It then struck me; it’s exactly what my child’s play school franchise accredited by QualityKG preschool accreditation has been practicing. Truth be told, I was rather amazed to find out that early learners discover visual literacy skills even before they learn to speak or read.
Visual literacy skills in young learners
Learning and understanding in infancy and early childhood is dependent on visual aids to a great extent. The structured play books and visual aids like CD’s and charts make this easier for children. The children’s books are often structured in a way that instigates curiosity and imaginative prowess. Most early learning books are written in short sentences and rely heavily on illustrations. Children are very attracted to bright colors and vivid pictures.
Technology and digitalization have added a new dimension to the concept of visual literacy. The use of audio-visual aids has brought in a new and far more effective way of teaching and learning. I see my child working with his hands and fingers, making finger art, making projects that are full of color and visually rich, he has learned that you can mix two colors to form a third by seeing the transformation first hand! These activities stimulate the creative and sequential learning of young learners.
Visual literacy in preschools
At the preschool level, teachers challenge their students by asking questions about pictures to contribute towards a child’s understanding of an image. At my son’s playschool franchise, visual literacy is a part of everyday activities, some of the questions asked by his teacher include:
- Does the picture remind you of anything?
- What’s the first thing you have noticed in the image?
- How do you feel after looking at this image?
- Can you think of any reason why the boy in the picture looks so sad?
- Do the birds in the image look real to you?
- Do you like the colors in the picture?
- If you drew this picture what colors would you use?
In the end, the teacher accomplishes her goal of engaging the inquisitive minds of young preschoolers into a debate about why the apple should be red or green!
Structured learning in preschools using visual aids is very common, as it is well established that children learn better, recognize better, interpret better and understand better any information provided through visual signs, things or actions. The use of visual tools to help young children learn to manipulate, navigate and process visual information for learning activity is important. Flow charts and highly illustrative visuals are a good way to teach children interpretative skills. Children learn how to evaluate the relevance, authenticity, and purpose of the visuals. This helps in building cognitive skills.
Short videos and multimedia tools are good ways to enhance the child’s observational and analytical skills. The stories and visuals are effective in promoting emotional and social learning. The ability to interpret and use symbols is also learned effortlessly with visual tools. Visual literacy is an integrated approach to all round development and transformation of mental images into reality.
Examples of visual literacy
A favorite book that my son loves to read again and again has illustrations and a line of text in each page. The book is about how a small boy buys some beans at the farmers market and what happens to the beans and the boy. The journey of the beans from the buying to the sowing and reaping, to the boy’s life and adventures related to the beanstalk, are all very well documented with the use of pictures. In the form of a story, he also learned how one can overcome obstacles.
In the end
Considering that every aspect of our waking lives is inundated with visual’s in the form of cartoons, comics, diagrams, charts, signs, symbols, tables, graphs, photos, collages, advertisements, slide shows and videos the purpose of teaching visual literacy in preschools is to teach our little learners the competency that helps them think ABOUT, BY and WITH images. Small steps they might look like, but these life skills go a long way in helping teach your child with his or her coping skills and problem-solving approaches to life. Visual literacy is a comprehensive approach that is fun and effortless once in practice!