To explain about blindness to pre-school children they must first realise that they use their ‘eyes’ to ‘see’. Begin by sitting down in front of a mirror and getting the children to look at their own eyes. Talk about how eyes are used for ‘seeing’ and ‘looking’ and explore what happens when you close your eyes. Introduce the concept of ‘glasses’ and how things look fuzzy without them. Only then can you introduce the idea of ‘blind’ or what it might be like if (as one three year old put it) ‘your eyes are broken’ or don’t work properly.
One of the most important things for children of this age is to be able to recognise a blind person if they saw one on the street. Some blind people carry a white cane. Others use guide dogs and this is simply a matter of personal preference. Canes and guide dogs allow blind people to get about independently. Older children, who are learning to read and write, may be interested to learn about ‘braille’, the series of raised dots that blind people ‘read with their fingers’.
To explore blindness don’t blindfold the children. ‘Pretending to be blind’ is nothing like the real thing and is more likely to give the children the wrong impression. The children would have a hard time finding things, may trip over and hurt themselves, and would probably be very frightened by the experience. This is nothing like what it is ‘like to be blind’ because blind people have training and experience that you and the children don’t have.
What are the key points I should tell the children?
- We use our eyes for seeing. Blind people can’t see. It’s like their eyes are ‘broken’.
- Some blind people carry a white cane to help them get around. Others use a guide dog.
- Older children only: as blind children cannot see to read letters they learn to ‘read with their fingers’ a series of raised dots called ‘braille’.
So, you want to show Ofsted that you are “doing diversity” in your childminding setting… [read more]
Products that can help you to explore blindness
Join the Childminding Best Practice Club and get monthly packs of themed activities emailed to you. As well as art projects with templates, each pack includes a planning guide to help you plan around a theme.
Printable diversity craft projects and printable diversity colouring pages to help childminders to teach 20 diversity topics including disability, religion, race, families and multicultural holidays including St. Patrick’s Day. Pack includes a section dedicated to activities you can use to teach children about blindness.