How young is too young for a child to start using a computer?
Based on doctors reports, no younger than 3 years old. After that, no more than two hours a day. I agree with this estimate, but what should they be learning at this age through 1st grade, which is 6 or 7 years old? After some thought, seeing what we have in the way of learning materials, the toys today and how we teach in our K-1 computer lab I’ve got some suggestions.
One of the best learning tools on the web today is StarFall.com. It offers a wide variety of learning levels from the alphabet, to actual reading. It has parent activities, teacher activities, downloads and more. It is a must web site to prepare your child for school, since today’s children will be behind if they do not have a lot of the basics when they come into Kindergarten.
Our K-1 lab is staffed by the wonderful Miss Mary, who is the most dedicated person I’ve ever met. She has a curriculum that has stations for reading, learning the computer, games to learn spelling, reading, math, counting and much more. Each day students work these stations with the help of Miss Mary, the students classroom teacher and a lot of the time a volunteer parent. Not only that, but with our video projector and connection to a laptop, the kids take virtual field trips to the Zoo, see what it’s like to be an Astronaut and much more. You name it, the kids can see what it’s like, all from a classroom with a computer and a dedicated teacher.
If more children would get a base of knowledge at home with their parents on sites like Starfall, Discovery Online, AOL@School, along with a lab experience like we have at our school we could close the achievement gap and start meeting the “No child Left Behind” mandate.
That’s what I think….What about you?