Information for parents about educational activities.
Tech Stars at Country Day School Baton Rouge
Each month, TechStars delivers technology instruction to the 3 and 4 year olds at Country Day School. CT, the Tech Turtle, informs children about computer hardware and kid friendly software through songs and games. The computer learning continues throughout the month during centers. Each month focuses on learning to use a different software program.
Our families also have access to online learning at www.computerexplorers.com/estars. The passwords can be found in the TechStars newsletter distributed each month. There are age appropriate suggested website links as well as app suggestions for smart phones and tablets.
Healthy Digital Media Use Habits for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers
Media in all forms, including TV, computers, and smartphones can affect how children feel, learn, think, and behave. However, parents (you) are still the most important influence.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages you to help your children develop healthy media use habits early on. Read on to learn more.
Media Use Guidelines for Young Children:
For children younger than 2:
- Media use should be very limited and only when an adult is standing by to co-view, talk, and teach. For example, video-chatting with family along with parents.
For children 18 to 24 months, if you want to introduce digital media:
Choose high-quality programming.
Use media together with your child.
Avoid solo media use.
For children 2 to 5 years of age:
Limit screen use to no more than 1 hour per day.
Find other activities for your children to do that are healthy for their bodies and minds.
Choose media that is interactive, non-violent, educational, and prosocial.
Co-view or co-play with your children.
What About Apps and Digital Books?
Most apps advertised as “educational” aren’t proven to be effective and they don’t encourage co-viewing or co-play that help young children learn. Also, most educational apps target rote skills, such as ABCs and shapes. These skills are only one part of school readiness. The skills young children need to learn for success in school (and life) such as impulse control, managing emotions, and creative, flexible thinking, are best learned through unstructured and social play with family and friends in the real world.
Digital books (“eBooks”) that have lots of sound and visual effects can sometimes distract children, who then “miss the story” and don’t learn as well as they would from a print book.
If you plan to read e-books to your children:
Choose e-books that don’t have too many “bells and whistles.”
Read e-books with your children (parent-child interaction around books is one of the most important factors to a child’s success at reading and literacy).
Why Limit Media Use?
Overuse of digital media may place your child at risk of:
Not enough sleep. Young children with more media exposure or who have a TV, computer, or mobile device in their bedrooms sleep less and fall asleep later at night. Even babies can be overstimulated by screens and miss the sleep they need to grow.
Delays in learning and social skills. Children who watch too much TV in infancy and preschool years can show delays in attention, thinking, language, and social skills. One of the reasons for the delays could be because they interact less with parents and family. Parents who keep the TV on or focus on their own digital media miss precious opportunities to interact with their children and help them learn. See Parents of Young Children: Put Down Your Smartphones.
Obesity. Heavy media use during preschool years is linked to weight gain and risk of childhood obesity. Food advertising and snacking while watching TV can promote obesity. Also, children who overuse media are less apt to be active with healthy, physical play.
Behavior problems. Violent content on TV and screens can contribute tobehavior problems in children, either because they are scared and confused by what they see, or they try to mimic on-screen characters.
Other Tips for Parents, Families & Caregivers:
Do not feel pressured to introduce technology early. Media interfaces are intuitive and children can learn quickly.
Monitor children’s media. For example, know what apps are used or downloaded. Test apps before your child uses them, play together, and ask your child what he or she thinks about the app.
Turn off TVs and other devices when not in use. Background media can distract from parent-child interaction and child play, which are both very important in child language and social-emotional development.
Keep bedrooms, mealtimes, and parent-child playtimes screen free and unplugged for children and parents. Turn off phones or set to “do not disturb” during these times.
Avoid exposure to devices or screens 1 hour before bedtime. Remove devices from bedrooms before bed.
Avoid using media as the only way to calm your children. Although media may be used to soothe children, such as during a medical procedure or airplane flight, using media as a strategy to calm could lead to problems with a child’s own ability with limit setting and managing emotions. Ask your child’s doctor for help if needed.
Develop a Family Media Use plan for you and your family.
Remember that your opinion counts. TV, video-game, and other media producers, and sponsors pay attention to the views of the public. Let a TV station know if you like a program, or contact video game companies if the content is too violent. For more information, visit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website.
Encourage your school and community to advocate for better media programs and for healthier habits. For example, organize a “Screen-Free Week” in your town with other parents, teachers, and neighbors.
Last Updated 10/6/2016 Source:Digital Media and Your Young Children: TV, Computers, Smartphones, and Other Screens (Copyright © 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics)
What is STEM all about?
Lately there has been much discussion about STEM education, an acronym initiated by the National Science Foundation for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. We believe that these concepts should be introduced to children at a young age in a developmentally appropriate way. Not only will this build a foundation for science learning, but also increase their problem solving and critical thinking skills in all areas of learning. Here is what the National Science Teachers Association has to say:
“The world of a young child is full of ‘wow.’ Children are constantly observing, exploring and discovering phenomena around them. From those activities they build models of how they think the world works and make predictions from those models. That’s the essence of science, although we seldom use that term for what we see our children do every day.”
At CDS, children are building towers, assembling LEGO machines, learning about tooth care from the Tooth Fairy, using microscopes during Tech Time, mixing colors at the art easel, just to name a few STEM building experiences.
- Go on a nature walk. Encourage your child to collect interesting objects such as small round stones, leaves, seed pods, or flowers. When you get home, help sort them into categories, such as color, texture, size, and shape.
- Do a cooking activity together. Look up a kid friendly recipe together. Let your child help measure and mix.
- Set-up building activities with paper or plastic cups. Give a challenge such as, “How high can you make a tower of cups?” Measure each tower and record the height.
- Play with water. Provide a basin of water outside so you don’t have to worry about spills. Provide tools to experiment with like a turkey baster, empty dish detergent bottles, plastic measuring cups, etc. to fill and compare.
For more information or ideas on STEM, visit http://www.brighthorizons.com/family-resources/science-for-kids.