Technology. Electronic media. Early childhood. Literacy. Are these four concepts mutually exclusive, or do they hold the potential to interact and promote deeper connections in the education of young children? Will the use of technology and media support the developmental needs of young children, or do these tools take away from essential developmental needs and experiences?
The National Association for the Education of Young Children, in conjunction with the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College, Pennsylvania are currently working on a revised position statement, Technology in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8, which will be published in spring 2012.
The position statement takes an interesting look at technology and the early childhood setting and recognizes that new technology tools and media are changing the way information is acquired and utilized; and it also affects the way we communicate with each other. Most importantly the statement highlights that in order for experiences with technology to be appropriate for young children, technology needs to be viewed through the lens of child development theories.
So when it comes to technology and electronic media what is developmentally appropriate for young children?
According to the NAEYC statement the use of technology should be used to supplement and support learning that occurs in the classroom. The more options a child has for planning and communicating with others the better prepared they will be when they interact with the real world.