Technology has exploded in recent years, and more early childhood learning programs have begun to recognize the advantages digital media has for teaching essential concepts. However, it is natural to have a few concerns as a parent regarding how much technology may be too much for a young child. As you explore your child's learning environment, look for these three signs that your child's preschool program is using best practices as they integrate technology into the lesson plan.
In every preschool program, the teacher plays a valuable role in scaffolding children's learning. As children explore digital media, the teacher should be a constant presence that encourages their learning to reach new levels. For example, a teacher may type an email as the children dictate a message to send to a police officer that visited their classroom on community helper day. As children engage with computers and tablets, your child's teacher should be monitoring the amount of screen time they experience along with ensuring that they are only able to access age-appropriate programs and applications.
Connections to Learning
Every encounter with technology in the early childhood classroom should have an educational component. Ask to see the teacher's lesson plan to identify how digital media enhances the learning experience. For example, you may see a teacher using the Internet to help the children search for images of an animal or dinosaur. You may also see teachers helping children to use a digital camera to photograph their artwork. Interactive whiteboards, digital microscopes and drawing software are a few more technological tools that can enrich a preschooler's lesson plan.
Adaptations for Special Needs
For technology to be successfully integrated into an early childhood program, it is important for all children to be able to participate. For this reason, you should see special adaptations made to accommodate children with varying needs and abilities. Educational software programs should include speech along with pictures to guide children's learning, and touchscreens may be used to assist children who have difficulty using a mouse.
Understanding how technology is used in your child's classroom can provide you with opportunities to support their learning at home. Always talk to your child's teacher about any concerns you have regarding the types of technology that are introduced in their classroom environment. By keeping your mind and communication open, you can discover a wealth of educational opportunities that exist when digital media is used at the preschool level. Be sure to look into trusted preschools, such as Pioneer Career & Technology Center, to further ensure the safety of your child.