Part of the motivation of Aprendices Visuales has been to help children with learning difficulties or conditions like autism to learn more easily, and to be able to integrate in classrooms that include all students, Miriam says. Many children with autism, for example, are much more responsive to information provided visually.
“What we found out was that children were super happy and super focused and stayed connected with these books, because they could read even if they weren’t reading letters,” she says. “The teachers told us they were using the Aprendices Visuales curriculum as an inclusive tool, because it worked with all of the children”.
Transforming whole schools
Aprendices Visuales’ philosophy has been winning converts. Thirty schools in Spain have committed to adopting a comprehensive visual approach to education, not only in curriculum, but in things like the labels outside rooms (showing a picture of books outside the library, for example, or a group of teachers at a table outside the teachers’ lounge), and a visual daily schedule, showing activities by the hour.
Samuel Sánchez Forner, director of the CP El Bosquín school in the Asturias province of Spain, is a supporter of this approach. He has overseen the introduction of a visual curriculum and an inclusive approach to teaching all children. One of the first things the school did was to adapt the signage in the building, so that even children who couldn’t read yet could find their way easily.
Aprendices Visuales’ programme “has been an indispensable guide to signposting our centre, and it has represented the first step towards this transformation into an inclusive school,” he says.