Picture symbol name tags help children with name recognition and is a helpful back to school preschool transition strategy.
When Pre-K children are new to school, picture symbols help them find their name and ease their transition to school. Why? Most Pre-K children are pre-readers and either don’t yet know their name or don’t yet recognize their own name among other names with similar letters.
Finding their name on their cubby or crayon cup during arrival time can be confusing, and having a picture symbol for each child can help. This also introduces children to the concept that symbols have meaning.
What is a picture symbol?
Picture symbols are a name recognition visual tool to help pre-readers identify their belongings. You can place the picture symbol beside the children’s names. They can be a simple line drawing, clipart, stamp, or sticker. Each child in your class should have their own unique picture symbol for their name.
How to use picture symbols for name recognition
You can allow children to choose their picture symbol at Back to School night (Meet the Teacher night) if you choose.
Picture symbols with names are especially useful in the beginning of the year in preschool and pre-k because many children don’t yet recognize their name.
Or, you might have children who recognize their first letter as representing their name. Because children are egocentric at this age, they might have difficulty understanding that their first letter can also represent someone else.
Some children are possessive of “their” letter. If you have a Brantley and Braden, for example, Brantley might think Braden’s name is his because they share the same first letter “B”. If you use a picture symbol, you can give Brantley a dinosaur and Braden a frog, so they can quickly and easily recognize their name.
Children will learn the picture symbol far more quickly than they will recognize their name.
Ease the transition to preschool with picture symbols
Using picture symbols eliminates frustration for the children and teachers, especially during busy transition times.
Since finding their cubby is part of school arrival and dismissal transition times, it helps to ease children’s insecurities and frustrations at those times if they can easily find their name and storage space. They’ve got to know where to put their backpack and belongings before they start their day.
When preschool children start school, they are in a big, strange new building with new adults and new children. They have so many procedures and so many people to learn, and we need to do what we can to make the adjustment easier for young children.
How to teach name recognition in other ways
If you are concerned that children won’t know their name without the picture symbol, there are many other ways to teach name recognition.
Here are some ways to do that:
Later in the year, you can easily transition to name tags without symbols, if you choose.
You can also use name tags without symbols for artwork on a bulletin board. This way, children have to find their name to find their artwork, but it’s less stressful for the child when they aren’t searching for their name during a busy transition time, such as arrival or dismissal.
You can use name tags in a pocket chart poem or song during circle time (large group time).
Have children find their name on their school folder. Place 4 or 5 folders on a table and call children over to find their folder by recognizing their name. If snack time is near the end of the day, you can have children come find their folder after they finish their snack. In this case, you would not have symbols on the folders with their name. However, if it helps you to have the symbols on folder as a management solution, then do that as well.
How to create picture symbols for name tags
You can simply add clipart to the name tags or use stickers or rubber stamps.
Many teachers like to use a simple symbol they can draw, such as a sun, flower, house.
To make it easier each year, I created this set of editable Name Tags with Picture Symbols. These name tags come in two sizes. Just type the children’s names onto the name tag and print them out! This set includes an editable Google Drive Slides file and a PowerPoint file. The set also includes a PDF so you can handwrite the names, if you choose.
Name Tags with Picture Symbols