Lately, there’s been a lot of discussion going on about the use of technology in the early education classroom. In most early childhood learning centers, you might find technology used in many areas. From sign-in/sign-outs, televisions, computer labs, interactive whiteboards, projectors, screens, tablets, game consoles, and even iPads in the classroom there's a lot of opportunity for technology to take a leading role in the classroom.
That role that technology plays in the classroom deserves consideration and discussion.
Let’s dive in and discuss how Wellspring Preparatory Academy utilizes technology in the classroom.
What we do and don’t use
At Wellspring, you will see televisions in the front vestibule, cameras, and sign-in/out tablets. We utilize technology within Wellspring to communicate with parents, help us keep track of training/licensing needs, and to ensure the safety for all inside Wellspring.
However, once you step into the classroom, you will notice that there is much less technology in the classrooms. In our classrooms, you won’t find interactive whiteboards , computers, screens or gaming consoles. Rather, you will find a classroom full of toys, art supplies, blocks, tools, music, gardens, dirt, play dolls, books, baking supplies, imagination play, water play, natural items, and games to play with friends. You might see a keyboard, but it will probably be attached to a cardboard spaceship getting ready for the next mission.
Our teachers are also not using technology. They are focused on the children they are responsible for. Our teachers deserve a space for them that allows them to do their job well and with full support. They aren’t going to be worrying about whether an app is down, writing out lesson plans on a tablet, or finding videos for the next “brain break”. They will have an opportunity to play, use their imagination, and hold a rhythmic, educational space for their students. Only our youngest classrooms will use technology to keep track of feedings, diaper changes, nap time, and parent communication.
Our why power
We don’t believe that technology is a firm foundation for teaching the whole child, more so that the skills that we are naturally developing in a child’s early years will create kind, compassionate, wholesome, and mentally and physically strong individuals.
Studies have shown that in children who are below the age of two, media exposure has been associated with speech delays. For children who are pre-school and school aged, studies have shown that media use has been associated with physical, mental, and behavioral health problems. While we believe that technology can be used to develop many skills, it shouldn’t be used as a crucial educational foundation in a child’s formative years.
How we do use technology
We do believe in utilizing technology to ensure safety, reminders, differentiate lessons, and bring different experiences for educational purposes. We incorporate technology to differentiate our teaching in a variety of mediums.
A few examples include:
A reader recording themselves reading
A class learning how to set up a recording and perform a play for their parents to watch.
An educational video to help connect ideas and bring up discussion points.
Gaining new skills they are struggling to master/learn (how to draw an object, or how to pronounce a word).
However, we don’t use videos for “brain breaks” or “dance time”. We encourage creativity and imagination and movement of one’s own inspiration.
Research and developmental science has proven time and time again that one of the best ways to develop children’s brain and body is to provide multiple faucets of movement, imagination, and open-ended free play. Our belief is that all children should have the opportunity to move around at their own free will, allowed to create and manipulate the environment around them, and learn in a safe and supportive environment.
Early education is one of the most important aspects of a child’s development. It’s vital that educators and parents/guardians communicate and learn together the best way to care for our children. We welcome your feedback about your thoughts about technology and how you incorporate it into your household.