Saying Yes to Digital Media in Preschool and Kindergarten

From Huffington Post:

You, a parent of young children, may be tethered to your phone, iPad and laptop. But you cringe at the thought of touchscreens and apps slinking into your children’s preschool classrooms. You worry about your 4-year-old turning into a device-obsessed zombie who barely notices the world around her. You might even suggest that screen technology should be banned from any setting designed for young children.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children doesn’t agree with you. And with good reason.

Today, the NAEYC, the largest trade organization for early educators in the country, released a statement in conjunction with the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media about technology and young children (up through age 8). Though the groups discourage “passive screen technology” usage — like TV and DVDs — with children under two, they don’t suggest a ban on screens for preschoolers or kindergartners as some child-advocacy groups have suggested. Nor do they say teachers should avoid using technology with young kids. Instead, the groups puts the onus on teachers to make smart decisions and use technology appropriately.

It’s a brave document. Five years ago when my daughters were in preschool, I would have cringed at the sight of a bulky, wire-tangled computer monitor sitting next to shelf of wooden blocks. Child-development experts say that children should be using their hands to mold spaghetti out of play dough, color with crayons and practice with scissors. Is it really necessary to teach them to click a computer mouse at such an early age? School is a place to learn social skills, to share, inquire, and laugh with other children. Why would we allow kids to get sucked into a screen, blocking out any interaction with the people around them?

But the last few years of touchscreen technologies, digital photography and Internet video calls (i.e. Skype) are challenging assumptions about the isolating and detrimental effects of new technology.

Continue reading the rest of the story on Huffington Post