Article posted by PBS Parents - Experts Speak Out - "Clicking with Children"
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is an organization that sets standards of excellence for programs for children from birth through age eight. Their research shows that computers can have important benefits for even very young children, including language development, literacy development, social development, and the development of important problem-solving skills. However, computers are most beneficial when parents and teachers provide appropriate guidance, when computer use is related to other kinds of learning, when high-quality software is used, and when children work on the computer with peers or adults.
The following specific recommendations from NAEYC about the use of computers with young children are based on both current research in child development and the professional opinions of early childhood educators.
- Computers should supplement--and not replace--activities and materials such as art, sand, water, books, music, outdoor exploration, experimenting with writing materials, dramatic play, and socializing with other children.
- Parents should guide children's use of computers. Be on hand to help your child, answer questions, and interact with your child as she works on the computer.
- Take the time to observe and participate in computer activities to gain an understanding about how your child thinks and learns. Observing children at the computer can reveal much about the way children are thinking and solving problems.
- Work with your child on the computer, and encourage him to work with a sibling or friend whenever possible. Using computers with others encourages important social skills, such as turn-taking and cooperation, and helps build your child's ability to speak and listen.
- Learn more about software for young children, and carefully preview the software your child uses. While there are many high-quality products available, some software is not appropriate for young children because it is difficult to use, highlights violent themes, or does not foster language or learning.
Posted by Aparna Datta: (www.aparnadatta.com)