Computers are the wave of the future. It is very important to know how to use them for many purposes from work to pleasure. The question is when and how much should we expose our young children to them.
Here at Alden Montessori School, we are very careful with how much we utilize computers in the education of our young students. Though pushing keys and moving the mouse gives those chubby toddler fingers a fine-motor workout and help eye-hand coordination, it does not compare to the hands-on manipulation of three dimensional objects in the real world. The texture, weight, and smell of objects along with the motor skills the child acquires when using those objects cannot be matched in the digital world.
Scientific studies show that the massive amounts of computer time small children are receiving is detrimental to their development. Small children need to interact with their environment, other children, and adults to develop social skills, empathy and group dynamics. Toddlers learn about the world around them by touching and manipulating objects. A hands-on approach to toddler learning is much more rational than a high-tech, one dimensional experience.
It’s easy for young children to get frustrated and overwhelmed by all the sensory effects of computer games. Children become too dependent on all that stimulation, then in turn, have trouble focusing on quieter activities like reading and school work.
Children are much too sedentary. Our children should be up and about as well as getting plenty of outside time. Physical play is key to children’s development, making strong bones and muscles as well as building good coordination.
At Alden Montessori we feel very strongly that the young child have limited time in front of the screen. The Montessori environment is filled with beautiful materials for the children to work with, building their ability to focus, friends to have conversations with, and a life long memories to make. Outside is filled with fresh air, trees to climb, and grass to run on. They make the most of it!
Many parents are concerned that their child will be behind if not started on the computers early. The exact opposite is true. young children are amazing in how fast they pick up the use of technology in a very short amount of time. They will get it soon enough. If they miss the sensorial aspects of their education during the sensitive period for that, they can’t get that back.
The primary children do have access to computers for keyboarding and reinforcement of math and reading skills, but not in place of the beauty of the hands-on learning environment. The elementary children have a computer in their classroom for valuable keyboarding skills and research.