Education has always been important to my family. Sadly, the education system in California has not always been up to the task. Luckily, there’s always been someone in our immediate family who was on top of the latest advancements in learning. For me, my aunt was an elementary school educator; she supplied my mom with math and science textbooks and graded my work. For Gates, my sister—her aunt—is an early childhood and elementary school educator.
Gates is naturally curious. We satisfy this curiosity with lots of books, dramatic play, music, baking, and crafting. Now that she's older, we're beginning to incorporate technology, following her aunt's lead.
In her classroom, as well as outside it, my sister Heather makes judicious use of technology to broaden and enrich the learning experience. She uses her laptop to show educational videos, using her laptop in place of a projector or smart board. When kids have questions about something they've seen or heard in the video or in a book, she uses her iPad to do an instant Google search and quench their thirst for knowledge.
During breaks, she uses her iPad to check email from parents. She also prepares as weekly newsletter for parents of her kids so that they know what's going on in the classroom, what skills they students have mastered, and how parents can help extend the classroom at home.
I hope when Gates starts attending school she has an educator as devoted to her class as her aunt is to hers. But, until then, having examples of how to use technology to encourage Gates to ask more questions and try new things is incredibly helpful.
Gates and I play in her kitchen making dinner and whipping up "Chef's Specials" using in season ingredients. We watch videos that show how the ingredients are harvested and prepared. We also use the Internet to find out more about specific varietals, where they grow and when they are at their peak and how best they should be prepared. After our play kitchen session, we'll explore the local farmer's market, select our fruits and vegetables, and then prepare a dish together.
If you're interested in using technology with your little one, here are some resources you may find helpful:
- "Technology and Young Children." National Association for the Education of Young Children.
- "How to Set Technology Rules." North Shore Pediatric Therapy.
- "5 Ways to Teach Kids to Use Technology Safely." The Answer Sheet.
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.
DISCLOSURE: This post is part of a promotion of Alter Your World, an Alt Summit project aimed at celebrating actions, big or small, that focus on good in the community.