Today, many parents seem to be concerned about the long-term impacts of technology on their children. Using a computer responsibly while still having fun is a skill they will hopefully master as they grow up. But these skills don't just manifest from nowhere. If your child has an opportunity to be exposed to technology at his or her preschool, this is a great way for them to develop skills you may not have thought about. Here are four benefits of having technology in the preschool classroom.
Develop Hand-Eye Coordination
This is a valuable skill mastered during childhood in which the eyes must direct the use of the hands to complete a task. Examples of ways in which children practice this skill is by playing with blocks, feeding themselves, getting dressed, playing with puzzles, writing, throwing and catching a ball, and learning to walk down the stairs.
But what if your child could learn this skill in a more virtual way?
There are a number of apps specifically targeted to toddlers and preschoolers that can help them develop hand-eye coordination. They generally involve having the player follow an object across the screen with their eyes and tracing different objects and shapes with their fingers, all while completing an engaging task. These games are exceptionally fun for kids because the on-screen objects are bright and colorful, and they usually play music targeted to children.
Improve Reading Skills
Children gathering in a circle around the teacher for reading time is still done in the classroom, and it helps build reading skills and attention spans. But research has shown that utilizing a computer to achieve the same reading skills can be highly beneficial.
Many different programs are designed to allow the teacher to customize the child's learning experience based not only on their current reading level, but their comprehension level as well. This allows the teacher and parent to track the child's improvement, assess their progress, and use this information to help them move to the next level.
Another advantage to having a computer for reading is that the books inside a preschool classroom are often limited. Additionally, children tend to tire of reading the same books over and over. There are currently many options for reading free books online, from utilizing the local library's software to read ebooks to visiting the Library of Congress online. With this option, all the kids in the classroom can have a virtually limitless supply of their favorite reading material.
Learn To Overcome Challenges
Games and apps that are built for fun can actually teach your child how to overcome challenges. By encouraging the player to complete tasks, your child learns the value of persistence when he or she is rewarded by moving on to the next level. These "rewards" help to cultivate a feeling of motivation and can also build healthy self-esteem in ways that are different than in-person classroom games.
According to a study done by psychologist Fran C. Blumberg, PhD, and Sabrina S. Ismailer, MSED (Fordham University), this process of overcoming challenges can also develop problem-solving skills, and computer apps may teach this in a unique way. While observing school-age children playing video games, they learned that when young children are faced with a problem—even a minor problem that would arise in a casual, game-like setting—they seem to prefer to focus on small aspects of that problem, making them more interested in setting short-term goals. This is a critical component to learning how to overcome challenges and deal with troubling issues as they grow older.
Experience New Things
With technology in the preschool comes the ability to see and do things that your child may not otherwise be able to experience. This is particularly true for those who might live in poverty and don't have the luxury of a computer or tablet at home.
If traveling to the zoo isn't an option, they can see the movements of lions and tigers up close on the screen. If the beach is too far away, videos that explore the depths of the ocean can be viewed online. Preschools that utilize technology to teach students different cultures, beliefs, and habitats, will see children that appreciate diversity by learning that a whole different world exists outside of their hometown.
For more information about the technology that is used in preschool, talk with a program in your area, such as Sammamish Montessori School.