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I hope someone has some insight for me as to WHY there are computers in toddler classrooms?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

We are visiting toddler programs in our neighborhood for our 21 month old DD. I'm kinda shocked by the computer access offered to these young children. We don't watch TV at home. We won't until she's at least three, and then we will watch very selectively. I remember reading neurologist Frank Wilson's book The Hand about how the human brain is linked to the hand, and how kids learn best with hands on learning that involves exploring their world through grasping, running, touching, throwing, catching. . .and that the computer merely teaches children how to pay attention to the screen, and not their peers. If TV is a no no before three, why oh why are these toddler programs offering computer time? She doesn't need to be tech savvy. She's 21 months.

 

What do you think?!?!?

post #2 of 21

I have no idea...maybe these schools just want to give the appearance of being up with technology and "academically rigorous" even though I don't know what toddlers that age could even do with the computers. (except bang on the keys like my 21 month old likes to do). It reminds me of when I was doing fieldwork at a local daycare.(I had to do it for my major) The teachers were being pressured to write and implement academic curriculum for even the small toddlers. It was clear that neither the director nor the teachers understood what was developmentally appropriate for that age. I cringed as they sat the toddlers down and tried to teach them shapes, numbers etc. by having them sit still and look at books or flashcards. They would not sit still. One time I witnessed as an angry teacher grab a toddler by the arm and threw him down as he tried to get up.( The director know that this was going on as they had cameras in every classroom.) It's experiences like this that made me decide to stay home with ds until he's a bit older.

 

 

post #3 of 21
I have no insight for you except to say that I think its very unnecessary at that age. There's so much more for a little person to explore.
post #4 of 21
Is it for the children to use or for the teachers to use during nap and planning time? Is the room set up for only toddlers or geared towards children from multiple age groups. I don't think toddlers gain anything from computer use, but I do think it is a valuable tool for preschool children.
post #5 of 21

I suspect they are just catering to parents who see it differently than you. There are a couple high tech preschools in our county and huge waiting lists to get in them.

 

My own kids preschools didn't have computers which was our preference but both played around on the home computer as tots... even watched an occasional TV show. They are 10 and 14 now and quite advanced academically, strong socially and very balanced when it comes to how much screen time is in their own lives.

 

When touring, you just have to expect there will be some schools inline with your own values and some that aren't. I'd hesitate to put value on them as really, you're in the beginning of your journey and what you think is important can really change over the years.

post #6 of 21

My dd's pre-school has been sending home pamphlets from a private school that advertise the school's use of technology - apparently, they teach 5-year-olds how to use an iPad, which is hilarious because those things are supposed to be intuitive to use.  But apparently, there is a market that looks for that.  

 

Pre-schoolers like to push buttons, and computers have a lot of buttons.  Other than that, it's a big hunk o' plastic.  

post #7 of 21
My kids are teens and attend a private school that we love that de-emphasizes technology. No computer classes at all. There are computers in the library for typing up papers, looking up things on the internet etc, but the school focuses on real experiences and interaction.

There's a green house, an animal center with goats and chickens, a dark room, a kiln (and 2 pottery wheels), a shop where one of my DD likes to go and weld. There are cooking classes and field trips to work on out door skills.

And just today one of my friends asked me if I was worried about what my kids are missing out on going to a school with no computer classes. dizzy.gif My kids are not the ones missing out!

Keep looking -- you can find a sane preschool!
post #8 of 21
I'd run, as fast as I can, from a program that had computers for toddlers to use on a regular basis. Kids need to play, interact, get messy, and be kids. Toddlers do not need computers. I suspect they're catering to parents who don't want their kids to be 'left behind' in a digital world. If that's the parents mindset, then they probably aren't going to be very in sync with yours. And it means that the teachers are catering more to the parents than to what's developmentally appropriate.

We're a pretty high tech house and our kids didn't get computer access until they were 4 and 7. And even then it was limited. We've relaxed a bit now because the kids are older and they don't use it that much. Ds mostly looks up sports on ESPN. Dd alternates between finding out information about her favorite characters/stars (she's really into Harry Potter, so she knows all about the actors who played the parts in the movie), and writing her great American epic novel. (Which is going to take a while since she's really good at settings and not so good at getting the plot moving.)

My kids went to a Reggio Emilia inspire daycare. Very play based. They had themes. The teachers had laptops that they sometimes used for pictures and such, since documenting what the kids are doing is a big part of the philosophy. And every once in a while, they'd let the kids send their parents an e-mail. That was kind of fun. But once a month e-mail on a teacher's lap top is very different from computers for toddlers.
post #9 of 21
I'm an Education Specialist and agree that there is no need for toddlers to be using computers (or watching tv).) However, when you do watch toddlers and preschoolers use computers in a classroom, it's usually a very social activity (unlike computer use for older children.)
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

The program we are looking into on Monday (that I was most excited about) is a RE inspired program. ..but the computers in the classroom "to promote comfort with technology at an early age" bothers me. I was hoping they would be computer free in the toddler program.

post #11 of 21
I'm Reggio-inspired and I've seen wonderful documentation done with, and for, toddlers. If they are really deep into their Reggio-inspiration, the computers will be used as a tool, (to document and revisit their work) not as a plaything.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

I'm Reggio-inspired and I've seen wonderful documentation done with, and for, toddlers. If they are really deep into their Reggio-inspiration, the computers will be used as a tool, (to document and revisit their work) not as a plaything.

I don't know how much I buy into that. There are so many other tools that seem so much more important to me for a toddler.

However, I would advise the OPer to look at the programs as a whole and decide which one is over all the best fit. No school is perfect. Most every one could come up with at least one thing about their school they think is a bit silly. In the end, we each go with the one that is overall the best.

I think that after making the decision, one is happier when they focus on the things the like about the program rather than the things they don't like. After all, the things you like should significantly out weigh the things you don't.
Edited by Linda on the move - 10/1/11 at 5:06pm
post #13 of 21
Reggio-inspiration is about deepening thinking. Working on something and then revisiting it and extending their thinking and learning. It's just one aspect and is a cheaper way to do it than printing out pictures every day. Two-year-olds (or almost twos) definitely can benefit from this. Not a requirement but it's not anything that's going to harm them. We're talking five minutes.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

Reggio-inspiration is about deepening thinking. Working on something and then revisiting it and extending their thinking and learning. It's just one aspect and is a cheaper way to do it than printing out pictures every day. Two-year-olds (or almost twos) definitely can benefit from this. Not a requirement but it's not anything that's going to harm them. We're talking five minutes.

There are lots of ways to revise what you are doing and try something new based on what you've learned that don't involve printing out anything, esp. If what you are doing is part of the real, 3 dimensional world, I really don't value the use of computer technology with such young children. Even children who are quite sheltered from computers easily become comfortable with them once they are exposed. So many kids become so addicted to it that they can't fathom functioning without it.

I agree that a few minutes of well designed computer use isn't going to hurt them, but I don't think that skipping it would hurt them either. If it is only a few minutes and it is well designed and a parent otherwise LOVES the program, then I think it could all be fine.

My view is biased because I have teens and am around teens a lot. At this point, it's about getting them away from screens. Getting kids started on computers is a bit like opening Pandora's box. I don't know any parent of a teen who is wishing that their child would spend MORE time with computers.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your replies and incite. I'll have more information on Monday on HOW they use the computer in the RE classrooms. The other program we visited last week had a full on computer lab that the toddlers used for 30 minutes a day. Eeeks! I explained that I wasn't comfortable with this, and the director said DD could skip computer time, but that she would feel left out watching the other toddlers on the computers having fun.

post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hi, I just wanted to update this post. After meeting with director for the tour at the RE school I asked her about toddlers and the computer. She said they don't use them, the toddlers that is. The teacher may use it to pull up a video or something, but the toddlers don't use it as it doesn't fit in with the school's philosophy for that age group. Their website says differently, but I'm glad to hear what I wanted to hear. The school is everything I want for DD so we are moving forward with them and expecting the best. smile.gif

post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lellian View Post

The program we are looking into on Monday (that I was most excited about) is a RE inspired program. ..but the computers in the classroom "to promote comfort with technology at an early age" bothers me. I was hoping they would be computer free in the toddler program.



We attend a very good RE preschool and there are no computers for the use of the children. The teachers do use them somewhat for documentation (including updating the blog). Computers have no place in a quality play based preschool program. It strikes me as really really lazy teacher involvement.

post #18 of 21

Since NAEYC revised their stance on technology for young children, I am not surprised by this and I expect to see it more in the future. I DO NOT agree with computers in the classroom for the young children to use on a regular basis, especially for toddlers.

 

 

post #19 of 21
.
Edited by ChitownTracy - 7/19/12 at 8:02pm
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

I suspect they are just catering to parents who see it differently than you. There are a couple high tech preschools in our county and huge waiting lists to get in them.

 

My own kids preschools didn't have computers which was our preference but both played around on the home computer as tots... even watched an occasional TV show. They are 10 and 14 now and quite advanced academically, strong socially and very balanced when it comes to how much screen time is in their own lives.

 

When touring, you just have to expect there will be some schools inline with your own values and some that aren't. I'd hesitate to put value on them as really, you're in the beginning of your journey and what you think is important can really change over the years.



well said.

 

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