Technology might not be the first thing you think of when you read the words "child day care center." That said, technology is gradually making its way into the early childhood classroom. With intentional and appropriate use, technology can become an extremely effective tool when teaching young children, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Fred Rogers Center position on the subject. You see there are a few computers in your preschooler's classroom, and now you're wondering what "intentional" and "appropriate" use is.
What Does Intentional Technology Use Mean?
It's mid-morning at the child day care center, and the preschoolers are busy typing away on the computers. Are they playing games? Are they zoning out? The widespread belief that all tech time is 'bad' for kids doesn't account for the fact that not all screens are equal.
Passively sitting back and watching a DVD or mindlessly looking at a computer screen are certainly not educational activities. But, getting hands-on and interactive can help your young child learn through electronics. Intentional use includes purposeful activities that put the child at the center of the learning action. The early childhood educator has a clear goal (such as using a computer program to assist the child in learning about numbers or using an app to create music) that feeds into the technology use.
Intentional technology use comes with educational or developmental objectives that directly impact the child's growth. These objectives could include state learning standards, the daycare center's curriculum goals or developmental areas that a specific child needs to work on or improve.
What Is Appropriate Use?
Again, not all screens are equal. Watching television programs isn't appropriate tech use in the child care center setting. This is a passive type of activity and doesn't do much in the way of helping the child to learn.
Appropriate use includes a variety of activities that give the children the chance to explore, interact and participate with the media that they're using. This can include using kid-friendly search engines (with the teacher's supervision) to research topics of interest, creating art and music digitally, or even reading interactive eBooks. Obviously, not every activity will work with every child. An "appropriate" activity also needs to match the child's developmental level and reinforce growing abilities.
Understanding how these concepts play into your child's early learning experiences can help you become a partner in your child's education. Intentional, appropriate electronics use in a child day care center can help the young students develop new skills and build abilities that are increasingly more important in today's modern technology age.
For more questions about what kind of technology might be used in your child's classroom, talk to a day care center like the Carousel Of Learning Pre-School & Nursery.