Introducing SmartTech Curriculum

“Ensure equitable access to the same technology and media for each and every child in an early childhood program and, to the extent possible, for their parents and families”

Jerlean Daniel – Executive Director NAEYC

NAEYC, in their position statement, make it very clear that they believe that all children should have equal access to all resources made available from the child care program. The various Webinars we have attended, and books we have read, identify four areas of concern not being addressed at learning centers:

1.    Staff Knowledge—How do we integrate technology into the classroom

2.    Cost—Hardware, software, infrastructure, wireless connectivity

3.    Lack of time—Days are already very busy with traditional learning

4.    Lack of Space—Not all locations have the space to set up technology components

They also believe:

“Access to technology tools and interactive media should not exclude, diminish, or interfere with children’s healthy communication, social interactions, play, and other developmentally appropriate activities with peers, family members, and teachers.”

January 2012, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media

Our premise in creating the SmartTech Curriculum was based on our belief that preschool age children can learn a lot about technology that they will not be able to learn at home or even at school.  It was essential to create lesson plans that addressed the four areas of concern and the SmartTech Curriculum was created as an engaging, interactive lesson plan that any child care or family child care program could easily incorporate into their current curriculum.  Our goal was not to replace, but to enhance or work in conjunction with the center’s current curriculum.

There is growing interest in STEM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) at the preschool level.  A recent Star Tribune article stated that the Hopkins School District was introducing a STEM Program version for 4-5 year olds.  In the article, Doug Paulson, STEM Integration Specialist at the state Department of Education, which assists with the ever-popular STEM programs stated: “It is very unique. Over the last six years, it’s just been growing exponentially. The preschool focus is the next step in the STEM frontier.”

With the SmartTech Curriculum, GitsSmart is focusing on the future of technology education for preschool age children, while keeping it engaging. As we were researching technology education we found very little that would engage the children in a playful structure that did not include expensive technology components. We focused on “play theory” based on the fact that play is the mechanism by which children learn. Children play at what they are familiar with, and with computers that does not have to be the “real” plugged in experience. They need opportunities for dramatic play that is going to engage them, both alone and with peers, in a creative learning experience. Children also need teachers to model how to play with props. There is a vast body of research as to how and why we do this, and technology provides a large need and opportunity for development.