Collegium Charter School Installs Communication Boards for Inclusive Recess Play

Playground Communication BoardsImage via ERCC

EXTON, PA — Collegium Charter School (CCS) recently installed communication boards on their K-4th Grade playgrounds. The boards are a form of low-tech Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) used in a playground setting. They include pictures with English and Spanish text, numbers, letters, and a social story.

Playground communication boards fully include students with language and learning differences in communication opportunities during recess. AAC boards help students who may not have developed spoken language or English language to make comments, engage in social conversations with peers, and state their wants and needs.

“Our school community includes many autistic students, English learners, and students developing their language skills,” said Brianna Ryan, a Collegium Speech-Language Pathologist. “We want to give all our students every opportunity to communicate fully in all school settings.”

“We wanted our early language learners to be able to communicate when they could not easily carry their AAC devices,” said Jodi Kobernick, a Collegium Speech-Language Pathologist. “We discovered that it would also benefit our English learners that may not have enough English vocabulary to communicate with their peers on the playground. The project was a joint effort between our Administration, Autistic Support Program, and Operations Department.”

“This is such an exciting moment for all of us at Collegium Charter School,” said Mallory DeCarolis, the 468/486 Building Principal. “Through this communication board, we are creating an inclusive environment for all of our students, and I am looking forward to the relationships and sense of belonging that this board will help us continue to create.” Kristin Camburn, the 150 Building Principal, added, “We are excited to teach both our staff and students about our new communication board and to utilize it to help our students communicate their needs to their peers and classmates while outside during recess.”

In the summer, CCS plans to add communication boards to their other playgrounds.

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