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Three-quarters of people disagree with the “technological creep” into nurseries where iPads and other digital devices are becoming the norm, according to a new survey.
The poll conducted by daynurseries.co.uk, the leading online guide to day nurseries and nursery schools, has revealed only one in four (26 per cent) of the people who took part think that children benefit from using ICT in nurseries.
The results of the poll showed 206 of the 813 people who took part think it is beneficial for children to use ICT in their early years and that 607 people think that it isn’t.
Davina Ludlow, director of daynurseries.co.uk, said: “Children are increasingly exposed to an overwhelming amount of technology at an early age. The use of iPads in nurseries, displacing the traditional methods of learning and play activities, is concerning.
“This poll shows that the majority of people clearly want to see early education and childhood play protected from this technological creep.”
A growing number of nurseries have invested in iPads and various ICT equipment partly because it is a requirement by the Government to integrate technology into the early years curriculum.
One of the early learning goals in the revised Early Years Foundation Stage is that ‘children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and school’ and under the framework they must be able to ‘select and use technology for particular purposes’.
It also says in Understanding the World, children need to ‘find about and identify the uses of everyday technology and use information and communication technology and programmable toys to support their learning’.
Sue Palmer, literacy expert and author of the bestseller Toxic Childhood, is concerned about the eagerness of nurseries to embrace ICT. She told daynurseries.co.uk: “I think what children really need up to the age of seven is real life in real space and real time, which means three dimensional experiences.
“We already have problems with children not being able to hold a pen or pencil. But we are giving our kids instant gratification all the time with ICT and it makes it harder for them to persevere with something that takes a while to learn.”
However, John Siraj-Blatchford, honorary professor at the University of Swansea centre for child research, argues that there is substantial research evidence supporting the use of ICT in early childhood.
When speaking to daynurseries.co.uk, he said: “I am keen to promote the use of mobile touch screen technologies in early childhood because all the evidence points to it being the most appropriate for young children in terms of accessibility, and even more importantly in terms of play based pedagogy.”
For more on the findings of this poll and extra comment from nurseries on the issue go to www.daynurseries.co.uk/news/article.cfm/id/1560957/nurseries-question-whether-ict-in-the-early-years-is-a-good-thing