Technology can be a valuable tool for exposing young children to new learning experiences and cultivating creativity. If used carefully and intentionally with an appropriate amount of structure, technology in the early childhood classroom can support children through their educational journey.
It is our mission at U-GRO Learning Centres to facilitate the inclusion of technology in our classrooms for children at the onset of their preschool education at 3 years of age. We have found that moderated technology in a structured learning environment is necessary to help students become empowered learners. Learn more about the benefits of technology for young children, and how we use technology in our preschool and school-age classrooms.
Why We Utilize Technology in our Classrooms
Through strategic incorporation of technology in our curriculum, our team members and staff aim to:
- Facilitate high-quality, interactive learning experiences for students;
- Maintain open channels of communication with families;
- Prepare children to navigate a world of digital experiences both inside and outside of the classroom.
There are other benefits of technology in early childhood education. Technology provides a new medium for children to express ideas, manipulate and create through new tools, and learn how to use technology as a means of accomplishing a task. Technology aids in socialization, as children interact and share with each other while utilizing technology. On the other hand, technology encourages independence as they carry out processes on their own.
How We Use Technology in our Classrooms
U-GRO recently added new technology in our preschool and school-age classrooms to enhance learning experiences. Children may utilize iPads with apps for self-directed learning or along with teacher instruction. iPads are most frequently used during morning free choice time or at learning stations. Learning stations are one component of our preschool classrooms where children work on cognitive and social-emotional development through hands-on experiences. Often, children are doing personalized or paired practice or working on assigned activities that reinforce weekly learning goals.
We are also rolling out Smart Boards across our centers. These boards utilize chosen educational programs along with in-house curriculum content and themes of the week. On Smart Boards, children are reading through phonics, learning math concepts, practicing the letter of the week, and more. Smart Boards and iPads are also used for together time activities, like counting with the calendar, answering questions of the day, and taking attendance.
Our team members provide guidance and instruction when children utilize technology in our classrooms. Through a combination of independent practice, pair work, and group facilitation, technology supports and reinforces what children are already learning.
To ensure appropriate use of technology in the classroom, our team members follow strategic guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and EdTech & Curriculum Consultant, Dr. Monica Burns. These guidelines help us to maximize the effectiveness of educational technology, while also managing screen time for students. Our team members follow these usage guidelines:
- 10 minute segments 2-3 times per week per child on the iPad
- No more than 20 minutes of additional screen time per day during small or large group instruction
On average, U-GRO students may spend 25 minutes per day during the week. According to the AAP, the daily recommendation for children ages 2-5 is one hour per day (or no more than seven hours per week), so parents and children can have screen time at home as well. That leaves plenty of time for family movie nights, educational iPad usage at home, and other screen time activities.
As a premier early learning center, U-GRO is dedicated to combining quality educational practices and hands-on learning activities every day in the classroom. We utilize digital tools in meaningful ways to enhance the classroom experience. Have more questions about technology usage in our classrooms? Request more information about our integrative curriculum and educational technology programs in our classrooms.