Preschools have labels because they value ‘environmental print’. But… if no one reads the labels or talks about them, do they really help teach language and literacy? A label that says “chair” doesn’t help a child find a place to sit. Adding different languages to the label nobody reads doesn’t make it any more useful. Adding a picture of the chair to the label of the chair that is on the chair…. well you get the picture. What if we created a label revolution with these five quick changes?!?
You can even make talking labels so you can hear how to pronounce words in the children’s languages. Try a smart pen or create spoken labels using QR codes and handheld devices. I know we are giving the ECERS designers and the NAEYC Accreditation people something to worry about, but maybe we can get them to see a better way to use classroom labels, even if it takes a revolution!
Recently read a post by Kristine Beeley on Playing to Learn that makes similar points for early years educators in England: “If it Doesn’t Move… Label It!”