Posted on: 14 September 2016
You've heard the buzz that young children and screens don't mix. But, what about technology use in child care? Even though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should have no more than two hours of screen time per day, that doesn't mean your child's preschool day will be electronics free. Early childhood educators can use technology to help young children learn and develop, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Fred Rogers Media Center. What should you look for when it comes to your child's pre-k's tech-time use?
When teachers choose specific ways to use technology that directly support your child's development, learning happens. Intentional use includes activities that have a purpose or are goal-oriented. The teacher is trying to help the child learn something, not just letting them stare at a screen. This might include using a computer game that builds letter recognition skills or reading an interactive eBook on a tablet.
Your child might not learn in the same way as their preschool BFF. That's okay. Their teacher understands that each child is different and has different learning styles and needs. This means that the educator needs to tailor technology use to the child's age, developmental level, and skill needs. How might a teacher do this? They might pick different software programs to use, making choices depending on what the child is comfortable learning. This might mean that one child is playing a math game that focuses on learning the numbers one through five, while another young student is tackling numbers up to 10 or simple addition.
With the growing concerns of Internet safety, you'll find plenty of ways to keep kids away from inappropriate or potentially dangerous content online. Your child's preschool teacher knows this. Instead of simply letting students surf on the child care center's computer, the teacher is there to closely supervise. Not only is the teacher supervising the students, but it's likely that there are safety guards in place. This might include using a kid-friendly Internet browser and parental controls.
Watching television on a laptop or tablet is not interactive because it allows your child to passively sit back and do very little that engages their brain. On the other hand, interactive play includes games, programs, and apps that require your child to get into the center of the learning action. They might have to pick colors or shapes on a screen when prompted, create their own digital artwork, or click on letters to make simple words.
Technology and early childhood education often go hand-in-hand. While your young child shouldn't spend all day in front of a screen, intentional and interactive tech-time can help them learn, grow, and develop new skills.
To find out how child care centers put their technology to use, contact an educator at the Small World Early Learning & Development Center.Share