It’s time to begin another school year, and even though your child care program may serve children and families all year long, it’s exciting to have a fresh start. New faces, new families and hopefully some new materials will be introduced to your program! As you think of ways to brighten your space, remember this statement: Bulletin boards make a difference. Most programs have three separate boards located in different parts of the building. The largest bulletin board should be for the children, with one smaller board for families and one for teachers and staff.
Meeting the Needs of Children
Bulletin boards are a great way to display children’s projects and document what they’ve learned. Instead of purchasing commercial designs, use the space to encourage budding artists, award good behavior, celebrate holidays and seasons, and enhance your curriculum. As you create bulletin boards for your classroom, evaluate them using the following criteria:
Does it convey a message?
Is it bright and colorful?
Is the children’s work displayed neatly?
Is the material related to the children’s level of development?
Does it build a healthy self-concept?
Meeting the Needs of Parents and Guardians
As you provide a bulletin board for families, think of simple, quick, and appealing ways to convey messages, announcements, and events. Parents usually come to your program intent on smoothly completing the transition from home to school, preoccupied with their day at work, or thinking about what they’re going to make for dinner. You can make your parent bulletin board appealing by following these simple guidelines:
Is the board located in a convenient location? Parents will notice messages if bulletin boards are located near the entrance where they drop-off and pick-up their children.
Does the board emphasize reading to children at home?
Create a list of recommended children’s literature and post for parents.
Does the board highlight upcoming community events? You can promote families spending time together by suggesting free, inexpensive, and age-appropriate activities for their children.
Does a monthly calendar indicate days that the center is closed each month? If there is going to be a schedule change, parents need adequate time to find and make other child care arrangements for their child.
Meeting the Needs of Teachers and Staff
Informative, attractive bulletin boards are a great way to communicate announcements and messages to your teachers and staff. Post the information in a highly visible location, such as the teachers’ lounge and consider the following:
Have I posted faculty/staff meetings in advance?
Does the board include information on continuing education programs?
Are insurance changes, new licensing regulations, and federal guidelines posted?
Does the bulletin board introduce new personnel?
Are center closings posted in advance?
Bulletin boards do make a difference in child care programs. They say to children “Our classroom is a happy place, and the teachers here value our work.” For parents, bulletin boards inform them of special events and important announcements. And for staff, bulletin boards serve as a central location for posting information and making announcements.
Carolyn R. Tomlin, Jackson, TN has taught Early Childhood Education at Union University. She is the author of What I Wish It Hadn’t Taken Me So Long To Learn, from www.1stbooks.com and over 2,000 magazine articles.
Helpful Hints for Constructing & Storing Bulletin Board Materials
1. Save pictures from calendars and magazines, artwork, purchased bulletin board supplies, and posters from your displays throughout the school year. Laminate the items and place in labeled file folders to create a library of materials.
2. Change your bulletin board displays often. After two weeks, no one pays attention to notices and announcements.
3. Use inexpensive and free materials when possible. Cut letters from fabric remnants, save construction paper scraps, and ask parents to donate materials.
4. Use a digital or instant camera to record class projects. Children will enjoy seeing their photos displayed in the classroom and parents will like seeing their children’s activities documented.
5. Enlarge patterns from teacher resource books and clip art from the Internet with a copying machine.
6. Allow children to assist you in constructing, displaying, and removing bulletin boards.
7. Store materials in a large flat container, so that they can be reused. Staple two large oak tag sheets together or cut cardboard from a large appliance box and tape on three sides to create protective folders for large items, and place small pieces in manila envelopes.
8. Photograph or make simple drawings of your bulletin boards for future reference. A visual reminder will help you create wonderful displays for years to come.