Lockdown Day 68 – Colour
Education of the Senses
In Lockdown Tip #19 we spoke about the importance of the child developing visual discrimination. In the young child, this is mostly linked to the understanding and recognition of sizes, shapes and colours.
* COLOURS *
Colour recognition provides children with essential everyday learning tools.
* Verbal communication: As children learn to identify colours, they are able to use colour as a language tool to describe things (adjectives).
* Sorting and classifying as a pre-mathematics tool: As children learn to identify colours, they can use this knowledge to sort, classify, compare and organise objects according to their colour.
* Creative expression: Teaching children about colour (including shades, tones and hues of colour) gives them a good foundation for using colour as a means of creative expression in all aspects of their lives.
* Safety: Colours are used in human civilisation to give us information about safety. Red is used to identify danger, to tell us that something is hot, or to tell us to ‘stop’. Green is used to indicate that something is safe, and yellow/amber reminds us to be alert.
* Health: Understanding colour also allows us to monitor our health. A blue mark on our skins tells us that we have been bruised. Turning red whilst outdoors tells us that we have had too much unprotected sun exposure.
* Colour-coding: For children in a Montessori classroom, the understanding of colour lays an important foundation for work in all curriculum areas. In Literacy, the parts of grammar are colour-coded (all nouns are black, verbs are read…), vowels and consonants are colour-coded, and the different reading levels are colour-coded. In Numeracy, place value (thousands, hundreds, tens and units) is colour-coded, as are the operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) and the multiplication beads. In Geography, the continents are colour-coded and in Zoology, the phylum are colour-coded. This colour-coding allows the children to organise the information in their brains in a more ordered manner.
As with everything, children learn about colour best when it is used in their everyday living.
Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.
– GETTING DRESSED
As the child gets dressed, describe the clothes that the child will be wearing. “Would you like to wear your BLUE T-Shirt with your BROWN shorts today?” Once the child has an understanding of the identification of colour, expand this by adding shades: “Would you like to wear your DARK BLUE T-Shirt with your PALE BROWN shorts today?” You can also enhance the child’s colour knowledge by giving further chromatic vocabulary to a ‘base’ colour. Different shades and colours of blue can (for example) be named as: navy, teal, turquoise, slate, sky, baby etc…
As you serve or enjoy a meal, speak about the food in terms of its colour. “Today we are having crispy BROWN chicken, WHITE rice, GREEN peas, ORANGE carrots and YELLOW patty-pans.”
– THE GREAT OUTDOORS
This is probably the best place to talk about colour! You can expand the child’s learning here by also comparing colours. Collect a handful of leaves and discuss their colours. “This leaf is BRIGHT GREEN. This one is going YELLOW. This leaf is PALE GREEN. This one has gone BROWN.” You can also grade the leaves by their shades of colour. “Let’s grade these leaves from the DARKEST to the LIGHTEST green.”
Everything around you in nature is rich in colour – the plants, animals, insects… So many learning opportunities just waiting to be taken advantage of!
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