It is undeniable that ICT plays an integral part in all our lives. Today’s children are growing up immersed, and unphased by it. We are so accustomed to having information at the press of a button and having gadgets to assist with various jobs.
The EYFS clearly recognises the need for ICT to be omnipresent in children’s education. It is not a separate area but something that permeates all aspects of their learning. Through play opportunities children can experience a range of resources that support their ICT knowledge and understanding as well as enhancing other key skills. A programmable toy has control technology but it may also support literacy and numeracy skills.
Role Play is a fantastic area for learning through ICT, and about ICT. Such audits really help to enlighten just how much technology is being used. It is also a great starting point for the children setting up a realistic role play scenario. If a visit isn’t viable, research via video, books or online to demonstrate what the scenes look like and how they operate.
Empower the children by letting them decide what the exterior and interior will look like. Realism is important but if someone suggests using a shoe box with a buzzer for a microwave, celebrate that they are incorporating symbolic play and being creative as well as resourceful.Try taking the children on a control technology treasure hunt. Visit a supermarket, a post office, a bank or a travel agent to see how it is being used in an everyday context.
It is not just computers, but cash machines, fridges, scales, clocks, ‘cashier number 6 please’ and lots more. The journey there will also present opportunities. There may well be burglar alarms, pelican crossings, parking meters, CCTV and automatic doors.
One scene that they will be familiar with is the ‘home corner’. It is however still useful to do an audit of what they want to include. Look through catalogues and magazines for ideas. Encourage debates about if they have a telephone, where will they write their messages and with what? If they have an oven do they need a timer and a recipe book? The children will have realistic opportunities to read and write through their play.
ICT… it really is everywhere, but sometimes we need to stop and reflect just how omnipresent it is.
Catherine Clark has worked in Early Years Education for many years. She is the in-house educationalist at TTS, consulting and advising on how children learn. She has developed numerous award winning products at TTS. She is passionate about children having enriched, exciting learning opportunities.