In the educational sphere as well as in daily life, children are now being exposed to technology-based learning at a younger age. The primary focus at Rosewood continues to be an emphasis on personal interaction, hands-on learning through manipulative material, the development of coordination and gross and fine motor skills through art, music and physical activity and a sense of the world around them through story-telling and exploration.
Can technology play a role in all of this? We think it can, but as an enrichment, rather than primary learning tool. At a tender age, we, as educational professionals, have a responsibility to keep exposure to technology within clearly-defined limits. As mentioned in a recent scholastic journal “Children need real-life experiences with real people to truly benefit from available technologies. Technology should be used to enhance the world around them.” (Perry, MD., Ph.D.).
Using technology at Rosewood
When a child reaches the age of 1 and 2 they will begin to understand the concept of object permanence and cause and effect. This is a great time to teach them the cause and effect between a keyboard and mouse. “A computer keyboard and mouse can provide practice in finger and hand-eye coordination..the development of fine motor skills plays a crucial role in school readiness and cognitive development” (Encyclopedia of Children’s Health. N.P., N.D.).
As young children gain number and letter recognition skills (pre-reading skills), spatial concepts (over and under) and memory skills, we use computer-based games to gently reinforce those concepts in a fun and engaging way. By the time a child is 3 or 4 they will be ready for software with puzzles to solve and storylines to follow, further helping to develop cognitive skills.
Free play and creative exploration
It is vital for young children to have the opportunity to play freely, create and explore, so if technology is introduced, we make sure to balance the open play software with the structured learning software (right or wrong answers). However, “Even experts who are skeptical about younger children’s growing media use recognize its value (Parents.com). Technology can connect children to the real world outside their classrooms because it can show them how today’s people research, communicate, and solve problems in real time, paving the way for a child to enter the new frontiers of technology and science with a greater understanding of the world around them.”
Perry, M.D., Ph.D., http://teacher.scholastic.com/professional/bruceperry/using_technology.htm
Encyclopedia of Children’s Health. N.P., N.D., http://www.healthofchildren.com/E-F/Fine-Motor-Skills.html
Michael Rich, M.D., M.P.H, http://www.parents.com/fun/entertainment/gadgets/is-technology-good-for-little-kids/