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What are ‘Now and Next’ boards?

‘Now and next’ boards are visual supports that can give a structure to children’s time.

Why use a ‘Now and Next’ Board?

‘Now and next’ boards:

  •  ‘Now and next’ may perhaps encourage the child to follow adult direction by seeing that the undesirable activity is followed by one that they have had some choice over or a particular interest.
  • Can greatly reduce confusion and resulting anxiety and support intolerance of uncertainty.
  • Some children find it difficult to transition between experiences, lessons and tasks. ‘Now and next’ shows them a picture of what they are expected to move on to and this can be useful and support the development of sequencing skills.
  • Can support engagement in new experiences.
  • Can aid self-organisation and support independence.
  • Can include instructions/reminders to aid independence.
  • Can be useful for children who find language and time concepts difficult to understand.
  • Can support the introduction of structured and adult directed tasks.
  • Can break tasks up.
  • ‘Now and next’ may be a supportive way to introduce less preferred activities. If you can show the pupil that after this activity they will be able to do something that they do like then it may motivate them to complete the first activity. For example:
  • Writing now, computer next
  • Complete 5 sums now, lunch next.
  • Wash hands now, snack next.

Top tips for ‘Now and next’ boards

  • A symbol should be placed on both sides of the board. If you are trying to support a child to engage in adult directed tasks initially both experiences should be activities or an experience the child enjoys.
  • You may need to quickly finish a least preferred task if the child is beginning to loose interest. Time on the least preferred task can be slowly build up.
  • Show the child the board, point to each symbol individually and model language. For example, “writing now and computer next”, “phonics now and choosing next”
  • Consider the use of single words.
  • When moving on or transitioning to the next experience give the child a change warning, use of a sand timer may be helpful.
  • You could use a post box or an envelope when one experience is finished.

Below are some links to websites that offer templates for now and next boards: