Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Aidan and his Flannelboard

Aidan just loves these counting felts that I mentioned in the last post. He has been playing with them all day. For a child with sensory and developmental issues, the tactile (and non-plastic) nature of them, plus the bright colors and concreteness, are very attractive.

There is a simple workbook included in the package (picture below). Very simple, more for a preschooler than a kid Aidan's developmental age. But you could use them as Montessori type command cards. I can think of all sorts of things to do with the "numbers", as Aidan calls them -- color, shape, sequencing (patterns), categorization -- plus adding and subtracting.

Generally speaking, for abstracting the universal from the material. CF this cute video Elmo vs Aristotle made by some students at TAC.

I got them from the Felt Source. It would also be easy to make my own shapes (here is a handbook online and I'm sure there are all kinds of other resources). But the prices were reasonable for buying the ready-made ones, and though the felt is not all-natural, the feeling of it isn't so phoney, to me, as that of plastic or enamel-painted wood.

I told my kids that flannelboards were a staple of my years of going to Sunday School as a child from an evangelical Protestant background! But only the teachers got to handle the flannels, and the stories were usually a bit contrived.

..."Here is Joseph.... his father Jacob.... gave him a .... many-colored coat..... his brothers.... were very angry." (the ellipses are where the teacher scrambled to get the new visual on the board.

Just a bit twaddly, though it must have had an effect since I still have all those Bible stories down cold. Probably more from my mom reading aloud and my later independent readings though, than from that hour a week of crafts and stories and cute little songs.

I have some Bible story felts that I am going to introduce later when the thrill of the counting ones have worn off a bit.. But I'm going to present them rather than do the Sunday School thing. ...let the kids handle them. I imagine that the Bible figures won't be nearly as interesting to Aidan as the numbers and multiple pictures of the counting set. But we will see; now that he has fallen in love with the felt idea maybe I can use the Bible figures to introduce some of the stories he isn't developmentally ready to have read or told to him in abstract.

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