As adults we use environmental cues almost all the time. The lights and signals on our car change, traffic light turns green, an appliance makes a sound. Our hands become dirty, both in feeling and sight, so we wash them. The traffic gets busy, we hear noises, the temperature increases, we make adjustments. We constantly use our physical surroundings to helps us understand things, present past and to help us predict next steps or actions. Some children don’t easily recognise these cues or the meaning of them. This is especially true for small children in school environments who do not understand cues for transition between locations, times, events or activities. It is important that we find ways to help develop this important skill in children and we can find ways to help a child respond better to environmental cues.

Here are 8 ways to help a child respond better to environmental cues:

  1. Align environmental cues to the ability children have to respond. For example, use auditory cues for children who cannot read well and visual cues for children with hearing challenges.
  2. Encourage children to ask questions about cues they due not understand.
  3. Include supporting and secondary information to assist children to respond effectively. For example, When you see me walking towards the classroom the bell is soon to ring to end recess.
  4. Help children become responsible for identifying environmental cues for both themselves and peers. For example, describing rules, discussing bell times and instructions.
  5. Provide environmental cues for children that are universal. For example, symbols for danger, gender symbols, arrows and signals.
  6. Create an environment where children are required to follow establish environmental cues. For example, clear rules, signals and reminders.
  7. Assist children in responding to environmental cues just one at a time. In order of importance, prioritise key cues so that success is achieved before moving on to more complex cues.
  8. When children ask for meanings of environmental cues, commend and reinforce the behaviour.
ways help a child respond better to environmental cues
Ways to help a child respond better to environmental cues

Senior Managing Partner and Education Expert Shanna Parry

Shanna Parry
Shanna Parry – Senior Managing Partner

Combining her passions for teaching, training and travel, Shanna Parry has since worked throughout the USA, Middle East, India and China serving as a director (Higher Education), headmaster (Secondary School) and consultant (K-12). Shanna brings a wealth of experience in a variety of critical areas.

In 2018 and 2019 Shanna was identified as top 30 in the Education category for Global Gurus among some of the worlds leading Education experts. Shanna continues to travel extensively to meet the demands for her consulting expertise in administrative and teacher development.

In her role as Senior Managing Partner of GSE she plays a key role in the day-to-day operations as well as pioneering creative models for international schools and providing groundbreaking training methods for directors, administrators, teachers, and students.

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Global Services in Education set up and operate schools in all parts of the world. Governed by a philosophy of global citizenship, every member of the GSE team shares a passion to help shape international education and student achievement through inspiration and collaboration.
Our goal is to meet the highest objectives of every school, teacher, student and parent, with an unwavering dedication to quality education, shared ideals and intercultural perspectives.

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ways to help a child respond better to environmental cues