Technology's role in Early Years Education
Our children have been born into an ever changing digital world. This can be very scary for parents as it is so different from our own childhoods!
There is a whole digital world waiting to be explored by our children, some aspects of it are obviously more appropriate that other aspects: from interactive learning toys, robotic toys, early years computers and calculators and read aloud books to apps aimed at children almost from birth now available for our tablets, smartphones and smart TVS. It is for us as parents to determine what, when and how much we would like our children to experience all of this based on their age, previous technological experiences and your wishes for their developmental path in the short, medium and longterms.
There is much talk of the dangers of technology and too much screentime for children of all ages. In the Early Years, parents are warned not to use cartoons and/or technology as a babysitter. However, watching some carefully selected cartoons can be very beneficial for your young child if you watch just one cartoon, from time to time, together for example. Love her or loathe her, Peppa Pig can be a great tool for starting a natural conversation with your child about the benefits of sharing toys, how little brothers or big sisters can be annoying sometime but we still love them or even about playing nicely with friends for example. Snuggling up on the sofa together for a cartoon is also a great bonding moment, a time to relax together at the start or end of the day.
Apps and interactive toys can be used to introduce basic literacy (learn letter sounds, reading words, spelling) and numeracy skills in a non-confrontational and fun way. There are also lots of artistic apps that can give your child's growing imagination and creativity freedom to be expressed - without the mess of a painting/glitter session at home!
Apps and interactive learning toys can also teach our children more abstract but nevertheless essential skills, such as to listen, understand and follow instructions, to think logically, to analyse, to solve problems.
When used reasonably, appropriately, for short periods of time and with suitable adult supervison, technology really can be a fun and effective tool for helping to prepare our children for life!
If you would like to learn more about KidooLand's innovative and creative approach to Early Years learning or for more information about our International Playgroup (open mon-sat), please visit our website or contact us.