From "Squiggles" to "Peek-a-Moo" to "Toddler Teasers", early childhood apps are everywhere. Developers say the apps are educational, and busy parents know that a digital babysitter can buy them a few minutes of valuable time. But is this technology a healthy thing for young kids?
"Technology at two years old is definitely a sensitive issue," says Ann Hirsch, Director of Landmark Preschool in Redding, CT. "Two year olds need the opportunity to socialize and learn that they are part of a larger community. In the classroom, we accomplish this through circle time, movement games and assisting them as they move from the parallel play stage to more cooperative play."
"Yet, we feel that technology is all around us and we find creative ways to incorporate developmentally appropriate activities into our programs." Landmark Preschool was the first preschool in Connecticut to install SMART Board technology and now has them in all of their Three, Four and Five year old classrooms. Now, for the first time, the Twos program will begin to utilize this touch screen technology to bring the world into their classroom as well.
Landmark Two's teachers Lesley Pugner and Siobhan Santini received a special grant to develop a SMART Board curriculum for two-year-olds during the summer. "The deliberate and well chosen activities they have incorporated in to this program will teach age appropriate concepts and engage our Twos in this techy world that we live in," added Mrs. Hirsch. "Instead of talking about zoo animals, we can show them what a zoo looks like - live! We can play counting games, offer interactive stories and really expand on the weekly themes in our classrooms with this technology. It's a great addition to our traditional curriculum and we look forward to watching the Two's students learn and grow with this unique program."