In a world where laptops, tablets, iPads and smart phones are the norm, we should come to expect that their presence in day nurseries would become a familiar site. But is this progression and a welcome educational tool or is it possibly having a detrimental effect?
A recent survey by daynurseries.co.uk clearly suggests that they are not welcome by parents and professionals alike.
In fact, out of the 813 people who took part, only 206 said it was beneficial for the children!
A growing number of nurseries have invested in iPads and other ICT equipment, mainly because they are required to by the Government as they strive to integrate technology into the early years curriculum.
This is one of the goals of the Early Years Foundation Stage and aims to ensure that “children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools”. It continues, “children need to find and identify the uses of everyday technology and use information and communication technology and programmable toys to support their learning.”
But clearly not everyone agrees judging by the results of the survey. Sue Palmer, literacy expert and the author of “Toxic Childhood” is worried about the eagerness with which nurseries embrace ICT, saying, “I think what children really need up to the age of seven is real life in real space and real time, which means three dimensional experiences.”
She continues, “We already have problems with children not being able to hold a pen or pencil. But we are giving our kids instant gratification all the time with ICT and it makes it harder for them to persevere with something that takes a while to learn.”
This argument is countered, however, by John Siraj-Blatchford, honorary professor at the University of Swansea Centre for Child Research who says, “I am keen to promote the use of mobile touch screen technologies in early childhood because all the evidence points to it being the most appropriate for young children in terms of accessibility, and even more importantly in terms of play based pedagogy.”
So, do you think that the potential over exposure of technology to children at an early age is a concern? Are the use of iPads displacing the traditional methods of learning and play activities?
Personally I think there has to be a balance and any day nursery has to continue to support traditional methods of learning while understanding and accepting that the growth in technology as a learning tool has a part to play.
If you want to find out more about Monkey Puzzle’s policy on the subject get in touch with us.