Three key ways tech can help the early years sector to foster extended learning inside the home
These days, technology is everywhere – both in our personal and professional lives – and as a society we’re reliant upon our mobile phones, tablets, and laptops to help us navigate our busy day-to-day.
Across many industries, the Early Years (EY) sector included, there has been much debate around whether digital solutions are an enabler or challenger. Our CEO, Chris Reid, believes that when used holistically, technology can help EY educators to extend a child’s learning and development outside the childcare setting and inside the home.
If you missed the original article on Early Years Educator, catch up here…
Bridging the communication gap between practitioner and parent
One of the biggest ways EdTech can be beneficial to nurseries is by creating a two-way channel for seamless communication with parents.
Childcare staff are the ones who spend time with children every day – seeing them learn and progress – and it’s only when this is communicated to parents that they are able to have greater visibility and understanding about their little one’s interests and preferred learning styles.
Parents and practitioners keeping one another up to date – with photos of observations and daily event logs – not only helps to create a more effective, closed loop learning experience, but it also assists nursery staff when planning future activities.
Supporting parents with home-schooling
Throughout the pandemic’s lockdown periods, many families across the country – whether they have younger or older children – have dipped their toe in the home-schooling water.
And given that Early Years staff are usually the only ones who are fully aware of each child’s progress and development, this proved undoubtedly tricky for parents.
This is where technology as an enabler comes into the equation.
Facilitating dialogue between staff and parents is step one, but when practitioners are able to share suggested activity resources or point families in the right direction as to where they can find suitable materials, that’s when communication transforms into collaboration.
For instance, if EY employees can review and comment on learning observations in the home, this also gives real-time feedback to parents and not only helps them keep their children motivated, but it also supports the planning of future activities.
Using technology that parents are familiar with every day is an effective way to offer further assistance, as it enables families to work in tandem with EY professionals on progressing their children’s learning journey – allowing both parties to feel a unified sense of reward, too.
Enhancing a child’s learning experience
If youngsters are being supported both at nursery and home, this can only be a positive thing for their development, and there have been many studies carried out to demonstrate this intrinsic link.
Research by Ofsted, for example, interviewed 208 EY providers and found that children whose parents are able to spend quality time with them often demonstrated improved vocabulary and cognitive skills.
It’s also true that children are known to act or react differently depending on who they are with, so when it comes to gaining a true-to-life picture of how they learn best – and where they may need additional support – technology can help educators and parents alike to document and piece this together.
And when using paper-based systems, it can not only be difficult to ensure that all the different pieces of paper for each youngster are in one place, but it can also become out of date much quicker than if the child’s records are digitised.
Is technology the future?
Marrying up the work EY practitioners carry out with little ones’ home environments has always been important, but as the age of digital transformation continues to accelerate forward at a rapid rate, and our day-to-day lives become busier, embracing technology to enhance the learning journey overall, will likely become the norm.
But when asking if savvy solutions are the future of child development – both in settings and at home – it’s safe to say they will continue to play a part in fostering a holistic approach, however, it should enable practitioners and parents to deliver their expertise and teachings more effectively, as they’re the true experts.