Introducing an iPad to Pre-Kindergarten
Young children are typically quick learners. We are often surprised at how fast they learn something new. In today’s environment with computers, smartphones, and countless other electronic devices, children are exposed to technology at a young age. With some structured education on a device such as the iPad, pre-kindergarten children have much to gain.
The pre-kindergarten environment encourages learning and getting along with others. Some of the many things introduced to children are basic concepts of math, science, and technology. These concepts serve as the building blocks for their future education. With computers being utilized by students in elementary school, a structured introduction to technology at the pre-kindergarten level will provide students a basis of understanding for further learning.
Some people many not agree that exposure to technology at such a young age is appropriate. However, children in this age group show high levels of curiosity and enthusiasm for technology. This creates an environment where the child is not afraid of the technology, which provides for an excellent learning opportunity. The overall goal is not to use an iPad for every activity, but create an environment where the iPad can be used when appropriate to enhance the learning experience.
To effectively use an iPad for pre-kindergarten learning, there has to be an emphasis on a structured program where the teacher helps the student learn to use the device as well as integrates it into lesson planning. It is not sufficient to simply allow the children to play games on the device. The iPad needs to be utilized in a manner that supports the learning environment.
Instructional programs can be developed that incorporate the iPad into the lesson. This results in a higher degree of child interaction while learning. Images, videos, and sounds from the iPad bring lessons to life and enhance the material being presented. The child is less likely to become bored with the exercise.
Many educational apps already exist for the iPad. The Apple App Store contains age appropriate apps for concepts such as:
- Learning numbers and letters
- Counting objects
- Learning shapes
- Identifying colors
- Creating art projects and music.
These can be used for interactive activities where students and teachers work together to use educational content to create a fun and exciting learning environment.
The ultimate goal is to help the child be better prepared for the transition to kindergarten and grade school. There are numerous ways to use an iPad to enhance the learning process. There is even a free course by Union University in Apple’s iTunesU that has several classes specifically written to help educators learn how to structure their lessons to effectively integrate the iPad.
Learning is a building process. Things we learn today are built on a framework that was developed from things we already know. This framework starts at an early age. Anything we can do to help a child develop and expand that framework will certainly aid that child in the future. A child that enjoys learning is much more likely to want to continue learning than a child that becomes bored with learning. The iPad is a wonderful tool to help educators create that enjoyable learning environment.