Technology and interactive media are one of the options Capital Area Head Start uses to support children’s learning. Each of our classrooms is equipped with two student iPads and an iPod containing music. Each home visitor also has an iPad, and each Center has an iPod that can be used during socialization classes.
We have developed our technology program using developmentally appropriate teaching practices to positively influence healthy growth and development for all children. Effective use of technology and media is active, hands-on, engaging, and empowering. It gives the child control and provides adaptive scaffolds to ease children’s accomplishment of tasks. Our teaching staff also receive technology training and hand-on guidance so they can effectively integrate technology into their teaching practices.
We work with parents to develop children’s goals, and we use those goals to determine which iPad app will most help the child obtain their goal. All iPad apps were chosen based on their ability to scaffold with children’s learning in math, literacy, and social-emotional needs. Many of our teachers have downloaded additional recommended apps that meet the diverse specific needs of their students.
A wide variety of translation apps are installed on each iPad and many of the iPods. These translation apps help facilitate communication and learning between home visitors and families and children who speak a language other than English. Not only do these tools support English language learning, but they also provide access to the family’s native language.
Within our classrooms, children are limited to using the iPads for 30 minutes per week. This is usually divided into two 15-minute sessions. Teachers interact and discuss children’s progress with them while playing with educational apps.
The children in our programs have greatly enjoyed playing and learning on the iPads, which have become a wonderful resource for our students and parents in our preschool classrooms and home visits.
If you are a parent interested in finding developmentally appropriate apps for your child, we recommend Common Sense Media. This site publishes independent ratings and reviews for nearly everything children may want to watch, read, play, and learn.