The International Preschools created and instituted an iPad/Technology program for our Green Rooms (3s), Pre-Kindergarten (4s), and Junior Kindergarten (4s/5s) classes several years ago. The 2018-19 school year will bring about some changes to the curriculum, led and instituted by our Technology teacher, Ms. Nikki. While some aspects of the program will remain the same, other parts of the curriculum will include new learning topics and a larger focus on concepts such as coding.
The International Preschools’ prime teaching philosophy is that of “play-based learning.” Here, concepts, thematic units, and skills such as cognitive and social/emotional, are best absorbed and internalized through games, stories, dramatic play, and use of manipulative toys, to name a few. For example, in order to teach a skill such as counting with correspondence, a teacher might use apples during a fall unit to not only have the children practice counting with, but also to expose them to an item that is frequently seen, eaten, and used during the fall.
The use of iPads and other forms of technology through our weekly classes are an important part of our curriculum as well. Last week’s blog topic focused on technology being used erroneously to replace teaching self-soothing skills to young children. We at The International Preschools believe that technology is (and should be) a part of the school day, but not the only part of the school day. Our iPads/Technology curriculum provides this balance; the children meet once a week and take turns experiencing and learning about the apps and other programs at hand.
This year, the Green Room children will continue to meet once a week in their classrooms for iPad/Technology class during Choice Time. Each child will have approximately a ten-minute turn to use the iPads in small groups. Through carefully chosen educational (yet still playful) programs, the Green Rooms will spend time focusing on and using apps that help develop structure and strengthen various skills such as fine motor control, spatial relations, and patterning. Some of these apps will include the Junior Explorers App and the Flag App, which provide mazes and puzzles of international flags from around the world. These apps will add nicely to our celebration of United Nations Day, where classes focus on learning about themselves, their families, and the flags/countries that different families identify with.
In the Pre-K and Jr. K classes, classes will run for 60 minutes to allow for the older children to spend more time on the iPads. Students will spend the first half of the year working on their basic coding skills via the use of apps and a small robot called a Bee-Bot. Basic coding for Pre-K and Junior K classes will consist of the understanding of directionals (left, right, forward, backward) and then using these directions to follow a set of instructions (i.e. to direct the Bee-Bot to go from point A to point B). For the second half of the year, students will work on creating flip-book-like stories and projects through an app called Stop Motion Animation. Here, the children will use printed images, their own drawings, and play dough to design scenes which, put together, will result in a (very short) movie!
We are looking forward to a fun and exciting year in iPads/Technology class!
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