University of Edinburgh

Early Years: Working with visually impaired children

Presented on Wednesday 2 December 2009

The Fiela Curriculum

Lilli Nielsen

The Fiela Curriculum

  • Active Learning Approach
  • Comprises book, catalogue and velcro board.

Notes: Fiela C. only one element of the Active learning Approach. It is a system with 4 elements -
Knowledge of the philosophy, theory, and practice included in the ALA
Perceptualizing Aids used by Lilli (equipment)
The Fiela Curriculum
The child's learning experience through exposure to the ALA

Active Learning Approach

  • Child learns from activities
  • Adult provides necessary environments and aids
  • Child's developmental levels are assessed
  • Assessment used to plan activities.

Notes: ...he performs in the surroundings in which he stays
...The child needs at any time to increase his learning
...with regard to motor, cognitive & emotional development. that child’s opportunity to learn is as good as possible.


  • Flexible
  • Individual
  • Enriched
  • Level
  • Appropriate

Stages of learning

  • 0-48 months
  • 3-6 monthly stages


  • Some already in use by child
  • Some are everyday materials
  • Some already in the nursery or school
  • Some not readily available.
  • All must be discussed with physiotherapist.

Notes: Perhaps not in use for this child until now. Some of this equipment has been designed by Lilli and is in use in schools where she is a consultant. Some of it is perhaps controversial therefore discussion with physio necessary (would need major construction works in some cases!)

Board and Cards

  • Individual planning board for one pupil
  • Velcro display board
  • Moveable activity cards

Activity Cards

  • Numbered to show the level of development
  • Coloured to show the area of activity.

Activity Cards

  • Blue : gross motor
  • Yellow : fine motor
  • Green : both gross and fine motor
  • ac : requires the participation of an adult
  • s : some sight is required

Notes: Cards have various codes and clues as to content. Perhaps you might want to add another colour to represent language activities or vision stimulation or group activities!


  • Necessary before use.
  • Will have been done to draw up ASP or CSP
  • The choice of cards is dependent on the assessment.

Notes: Obviously many people will have been involved in the assessment - parents/carers, therapists, medical staff, psychologists, school staff.

Programme Should contain

  • Child's self activities
  • Adult/child activities
  • Should have opportunities which have a degree of difficulty reflecting the child's level of development.


  • Appropriate level of development
  • Based on CSP or ASP
  • Using materials available
  • Reflect the child's interests/likes.
  • Use available environments/settings/staffing.

Notes: A brain-storming session using all available personnel is a useful way of drawing up the bank of appropriate activities. If staff are not able to attend, ask for written or verbal contribution, so that everyone has ownership.


Although designed by Lilli Nielsen, m will already be in uanyse, eg; Resonance board, Little Room, (Be Active Box)

Weekly Programme

  • Sessions as appropriate
  • Using the result of “brain storming”
  • Variety in activities
  • Containing both child and adult activities.
  • Always have alternatives available to cater for moods/tiredness/events!

Notes: May only be 3 times a week or 1 hour a day So that child is not asked to do eg; 2 fine motor tasks in a row.

Completed Board

  • Colours show immediately if there is a balance in the programme.
  • Check for balance of adult/child activities.
  • Can be photocopied for parents/records.

Notes: By this meaning a curriculum balance


  • Only an appetiser!
  • Blank cards are included

Notes: 730 activities listed, but I guarantee, you’ll look at it carefully and find that there is an activity that you would have included, or would include for a child you have in mind.

Accompanying Book

  • Chapter for each developmental area
  • Activities on cards are described more fully
  • Photographs

To conclude!

  • This should always be used in conjunction with ASP or CSP
  • Planning should always be multi-agency
  • Feast of activities!
Notes: At the very least, this book helps when you feel you or someone else is getting a bit stale and is needing fresh ideas!