Early Years Essay
Activity are planned to extend children learning and development area as they learn new words and able to build on their communication and language by describing and explaining what they are doing and asking question. This also extends their vocabulary example the children enjoy playing with weighing scales so I plan activities using different resources such as lentils instead of sand or dry pasta to learn numbers, sizes, quantities etc. Again activities are planned around sand and water play as it stimulates creativity, where children are encouraged to explore a range of resources to make something with wet and dry sand using their imaginations and sharing ideas. This helps children come out with all sorts of ideas which is very impressive. They make sand castles, make shapes with moulds and patterns in the sand with fingers and objects like small plastic rakes. They also make learning fun by using their finger to trace letters and numbers in the sand.
Sand and water play activities are things I do with children that combine fun, learning, creativity and time together. This makes the children confident as in the early year’s foundation stage learning area talks of expressive art and design as it shows how children explore play with a range of media and materials, page 5. Children often request and choose to play in the water and sand area and I encourage that by focusing on what they are doing and why they choose what they do. This helps the children to take led in activities and make decisions on their own. They are able to explore a range of resource which would broaden their knowledge as they keep trying and creating their own ideas with it. Water and sand play is also helpful in teaching the children about the environment.
The use of technology is ever increasing in early childhood settings. Children at my setting have access to use computers for educational games and software for learning such as e-reading, which they find engaging, interesting and refreshing. I believe that technology can impact both positively and negatively on children and the key is increasing the positive elements whilst simultaneously eliminating the disadvantages. Technology can be stimulating, educative and entertaining, which are positives. On the contrast they can make children lazy and inactive. The fact that technology is changing at a very fast pace means that we must constantly reflect on the kind of careers and professions that children in our care will be undertaking in future. As a childcare provider I therefore embrace the reality that children of today are in a technological world and must understand how its benefits can serve their positive development in all spheres of their life. Also the use of technology must be viewed as one of the many tools that children will use in learning and not an end in itself. Indeed in many cases, it represents one of the best ways of learning.
For example, children who are keen on a profession in the IT industry must be encouraged to learn and be comfortable with technology from a very early age. As a childminder and provider of education to the children in my care, I have a responsibility to collaborate and work with children to empower and support them to be great citizens of the technological world, which they are very much part of. Indeed many of the important subjects that children have to learn such as mathematics, science and English are increasingly being delivered in part through greater use of technology in the 21st century. Technology plays a very important role in the development of children. This is because young children learn greatly through exploring and experiencing their world, and technology serves as an alternative resource in their quest to do so. Children use technology to learn and play, which is very useful for their development. In terms of their education it can help them with their literacy and numeracy needs as they grow.
There are many ways that technology supports their literacy development at the childcare setting and home as well. Children can link words to pictures using technology. For example, children can link words and their picture equivalents in a similar way to picture books. There are currently software’s that offer spoken versions of these exercises.
Children are similarly able to create simple stories with the help of an adult. This may involve drawing simple pictures and typing up basic stories that goes with them. Technology also represents an exciting means for kids to learn and feel comfortable with ICT before they proceed to pre-school. For example, children can draw pictures using a computer and write stories or record their stories for parents, teachers or friends to listen to.
Children are hugely exposed to technology at their homes through the playing of games and finding clever ways of extending this through learning and activities makes it possible for them to have fun, discover and explore the bigger world out there.
For example, technology if well explored allows them to develop their emotional and social skills such as sharing and taking turns in listening through watching age appropriate movies. It can also shape their approaches to learning such as developing various skills at their own pace and developing their attention spans. It can further enhance their language development skills through listening to read-aloud- books, which promote literacy. This is similar to (Brice Heath, 1982; Wells, 1985) who support the view that listening to stories being read aloud is significantly related to children’s knowledge about literacy on entry to school and to their later reading achievement (ST14 p50).
Technology has and continues to impact on young children and as childminder I have a responsibility to ensure their experiences with technology are age appropriate and empowering for them. In my setting children have access to technology and play with all kinds of technology games in each play area. Children are influenced with the technology as they tend to exhibit it in their day to day activities. With reference to my appendix one, water and play areas have a few technology resources they play with, an example is the duck that changes colour in water. The children enjoy playing with it as they tend to get to shout out the colours and play the guess game amongst themselves to see who can guess the next colour. This encourages the children to talk to themselves and motivates them to think to get it right as children want to be the first to get things right.
Other forms of technology such as the use of play stations and Xbox Kinect provide exciting and wonderful opportunities for children to learn and play at the same time. The use of motion sensors can measure how active children are whilst participating in a variety of sports such as long tennis, football, golf etc. The use of these monitors to measure the extent of children’s physical development can act as both an evaluating and motivating tool. These and other technological advancement impact positively on physical development if well incorporated and provide a more accurate determination of physical activity levels and children involvement.
The children do talk about other technology toys they use at home for example the changing colours ducks are used by some of the children at home for bath times and that influenced some of the children to know their colours and looking at that I was motivated to add that to my resources for the other children to experiences that and it has really helped. Again technology has a great impact on children’s physical development as it has taken over children’s upbringing. Whereas once children just played football in the garden or played with dolls house, run around playing hide and seek, technology is now an important aspect of growing up and children prefer to either sit and play computer games and this has made children less active as they hardly play outdoors and socialise. Children who play computer games at an early age can influence their behaviour for example if a game is violent and they are exposed to it then it may encourage negative behaviour either now or later. Children tend to play fighting games due to a game they have played previously. Equally an educational game will encourage learning and can encourage positive behaviour. If children play too many computer games at home then they may lose concentration in the classroom as they often become tired. In my setting during role play activities and dressing up, children always come up with characters they have observed in a game and share with other children.
I do encourage activities which will develop them in their learning development in knowledge and understanding of the world as it explained in EYFS under specific areas understanding of the world. Children are encouraged to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment page 5. Children also use the computer to create their own design and talk about them. I encourage them to use the printer to print out what they have designed in colour to make the picture stand out, as in Reader 1 chapter 17 page184; children were being encouraged to use the photocopy with the assistance of staff. This type of technology makes children explore and learn different things. I do have polices and procedures for using some of the technological equipment in my setting as older children use mobile phones these days not only for making calls but for social networking, taking pictures and playing games. I do have a policy that restricts the usage of phones in my settings as children takes photos and put them on social networking sites. I have a policy that limits the children to how long they can play computer games otherwise they soon become addictive. (EYFS section 3 talks about safeguarding and welfare of the children).
In conclusion, children learn through many resources as in my water and sand audit, children were able to use measuring scales to learn their numbers and changing colour ducks to learn their colours. It can be said from the above discussions that there are enormous advantages and disadvantages of introducing technology to children from an early age. It is my view, however, that the positives far outweigh the disadvantages if well harnessed. Technology underpins a lot of activities in society right from schooling to employment and children deserve a head start to progress through other stages in their lives. Early introduction to technology makes children confident in their everyday use of ICT; enhancing children’s creativity and aiding their learning as they move on to other key stages in their development and growth.
Technology helps children in the physical development, for example there are games that help children’s physical development like the tennis wii games which children physically use their hands and body to play. Again, in terms of numeracy there are a lot of uses to which technology could be put. For example, children can learn about patterns through using technology in activities such as building blocks; patterns in music and other activities that provide a sound basis for understanding mathematics and also encourage them to learn about their environment.
Talking about the impact of technology on children was interesting example talking about both negatives and positives sides. The difficult part was trying to make references to back what I have written.
I learnt how children explore and make things through different resources and materials and asking question to encourage them to think of ideas and solutions example talking to them about cold and warn water.