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PARENTING IN THE DIGITAL ERA Featured
31 August 2018 Posted by 

PARENTING IN THE DIGITAL ERA

Why we need technology in our kid's lives
THEY'RE born in the digital era so it’s not unusual to see a pre-schooler swipe an iPad, launch an app or finger trace on a digital screen.


But what about the role of technology in childcare centres? With parents employing strategies to balance screen time with traditional play, how do our early learning centres stack up?

“Technology is such a crucial tool for teaching and to be able to extend that to support lifelong learning in a classroom is important,” said preschool educator Hayley Connelly.

Ms Connelly manages the newly opened Greenwood Early Education in Penrith where technology is being embraced for its benefits on a child’s learning experience.

It improves problem solving, helps develop skills and is motivational and engaging, Ms Connelly said.

“We have an interactive smartboard in the preschool room that is a great resource for young children, particularly when they ask a question the educator doesn’t know the answer to,” she said.

“For example, a child asks a question about Mars. Rather than respond with ‘I don’t know’, the children and the educator can interact with the media platform to access pictures and videos.

“Technology is already part of their lives so we use it to help them explore their world.”

Digital media is also used to support staff work practices and the children are encouraged to assist.

“We use iPads to update parents on their child’s learning. Educators upload photos and information and sometimes the children take photos of themselves and their work under supervision which are then sent direct to the parent’s phone,” Ms Connelly said.

And while technology “can be a great way to embed their learning”, it’s not the only way.

“We have extensive indoor and outdoor environments designed to stimulate cognitive and emotional development,” Ms Connelly said.

“Our educators carefully plan the learning environments to ensure they are conducive to play-based learning and encourage children to explore, learn and enquire.”

Penrith mum of three Tanya Davis agreed that screen time was acceptable in childcare centres but a balance was needed between using technology and traditional play – and the mix was just right at four year old son Aiden’s childcare facility at Ropes Crossing.

“They use a mix of iPads and smartboards and I think what they do is great. The staff monitor who is using the iPad, how often and they make sure they still have traditional play,” she said.

“The benefits are massive. The way the world is moving these days, it’s the way to go. As long as it’s not forgotten how to do things ‘properly’ like maths without a calculator.”

Ms Connelly said: “Technology plays a massive part in people’s lives and having that understanding of how technology works, how it can be used appropriately will set children up with the skills to operate digital technology.”

Greenwood Penrith is at 33 Mountain View Crescent Penrith and is open Monday-Friday from 6.30am-6.30pm. Details: 4761 0550.

 



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