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Easy pieces

Every piece fits together in this early years software, says Chris Drage

Jigworks pound;60 (single user licence) Windows Crick Software, Crick House, Boarden Close, Moulton Park, Northampton NN3 6LF Tel : 01604 671691 Email:

Jigworks is a software program for creating and completing jigsaws, in-service training puzzles and much more.

It allows teachers to create their own jigsaw with any picture in seconds. You can make your own in-service puzzles by cutting out pieces of a picture and create sequenced sets of activities easily. Activities can be built using any picture, including photographs, as well as letters, words and numbers, and in addition it can incorporate sounds. Activities can be based on jigsaws, in-service puzzles, matching, sorting, labelling, word building and sentence building.

Interlocking jigsaws can be set as 4 to 64 piece puzzles using the same picture. Custom jigsaws might contain more, fewer, larger or smaller pieces to fit and clues (thumbnails or pieces left in) can be included or excluded. A sequence of activities can be set up: with an on-screen jigsaw based on a picture of a place, pieces can be cut out of the picture to focus on particular features, labels of the features can be attached to the picture as puzzle pieces. Children can be challenged to sort objects from the pictures into groups andor sort words or pictures into groups where "any piece fits".

Jigworks contains a range of ready-made activities under the headings Literacy, Numeracy and Knowledge About the World. They match the foundation stage objectives and the early Qualifications and Curriculum Authority topics for history and geography. The program is also supported by resources downloadable free from:

Most children are familiar with jigsaws and puzzles, so they can easily relate to Jigworks. The software offers a wide scope of both pre-reading and early reading activities, addressing skills from shape and picture matching up to early word-level reading.

It encourages children to make observations, recognise similarities and differences, and sort objects into groups accordingly. Above all, it makes learning enjoyable. Jigworks is an important and necessary software resource for early years and key stage 1.

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