10 computer lab skills for kindergarten

By Michael Hilkemeijer


Integrating technology in the kindergarten classroom activities is more than just the teaching of computers skills for kindergarten children. It goes beyond using technology in kindergarten as an ‘add-on’ to the early years curriculum that you may be teaching.


To begin with, the types of technology used in kindergarten spans far and includes DAP software and hardware. The computer, though, is the most used technology in a kindergarten classroom as it is inextricably linked to generic software that can enhance learning and development in key learning areas. They can also be used in conjunction with smartboards, IWBs and overhead digital projectors.


In my free online professional development for early childhood educators, I begin to layout the foundation as to how to use technology in kindergarten classroom by explaining that it is not necessary to get the latest and greatest technological developments. Sometimes, the technology such as a computer that a child has made themselves or a non-working computer parts like keyboards and old but not ancient monitors.


Using technology in kindergarten is about being a responsive educator that values and builds upon a child’s own expertise in computer use since most of them may have already been exposed to them at home. The following computer skills for kindergarten children need to be embedded in meaningful purpose-driven context so that they more than just what they are.


When teaching computers to kindergarten, you have to remember that anyone can use an ICT technique but an ICT capable and technological literate child is someone who ‘knows that they know’ these computer skills for kindergarten. They need to know the appropriate times to use these basic computer skills in kindergarten to develop an ICT solution for a particular problem.

I will outline this later.

Monitoring and intervening is also very important and my full online pd for early childhood teachers and carers covers how to choose the opportune moments for this and involves keeping track of computer skills for kindergarten and preschool children. The following is a list of skills that can be achieved when using the computer in kindergarten.


Computer Skills for Kindergarten children

Here is a list of computer skills that you can use in your integrating of technology in the kindergarten classroom:


Basic computer skills for kindergarten children include:

  • The names for the parts of a computer
  • How to exit from a window
  • How to move a mouse accurately
  • How to hold the mouse still when clicking
  • How to click, double click and drag
  • How to press a key lightly so only one letter/digit is entered
  • How to log in/log off
  • How to turn on/off the computer and monitor safely
  • How to double click a shortcut icon


Medium computer skills for Kindergarten children include:

  • How to identify that multiple internet windows are open at the same time (or tabs) and exit out of one or all.
  • How to use the backspace enter key and space bar
  • How to manipulate sound level through headphones
  • How to open/use a folder {not multiple... just one level of clicking}
  • How to use a scrolling button or the scroll bar on the screen
  • How to navigate websites using their schema of previous sites


More Advanced computer Skills for Kindergartners Need:

  • How to type basic things (name, login information, a phonetically spelled sentence) using a keyboard
  • How to use the task bar to switch between open windows


How to Teach Computers Skills


To be able to understand and teach computers skills effectively you first need to understand what ICT capability is. The above ICT skills or techniques do represent a small part of what ICT capability is but it is in the effectively teaching of them where it will be developed.


Here is a small breakdown of where ICT techniques and computers skills fit in. ICT capability is constituted of five components and it is when a child can carry out this process that makes them ICT capable.


  • Routines – ICT techniques that require no conscious thought to apply;
  • ICT techniques – in this case, also known as computer ICT skills, are the explicit, deliberate manifestations of ICT capability. Examples include the above-mentioned.
  • Processes – a series of ICT techniques;
  • Higher order skills – demonstrated when young children 1) decide when it is appropriate to use a particular computer skill for a specific purpose 2) plan what routines, techniques and processes are to be used.
  • Conceptual understanding – focus on the concepts behind the computer skills. Whole class teaching can be used to discuss examples and non-examples, both with and without ICT, in order to highlight the important features of the concept. Challenge naïve ideas about handling ICT tools and techniques, both in whole class teaching where appropriate, and when monitoring the individual.


Here is how you can teach basic computer skills for kindergarten.

ICT Techniques (computer ICT skills):

When introducing new software tools to children, start by discussing what it can do and how it can be achieved, rather than merely demonstrating a fixed sequence of techniques to achieve a single outcome.

Students need to associate the actions involved in a technique with the effect it achieves. Having a name for the technique and/or effect is helpful.

The name should be seen not as something extra to learn but as a means of communicating and thinking about the action and its effect.

This is especially so if the name is used in menu options, but is also helpful where the movements, buttons or shortcuts are used.


Processes – more general and are made up of several techniques. An understanding of relevant concepts is needed in order to analyse a situation and identify the particular techniques required to reach the desired goal. Students need to work on a task which is NOT set out step-by-step. This allows them to try out new ideas and you can observe their approach and intervene when they fail to make the expected progress.

The minimum level of support should be given. Structure the activity by questioning, prompting and showing if necessary.

Withdraw as much support as possible to see what the learners can achieve unaided. à a student’s understanding of a process such as developing a poster using a desktop publishing program, or modeling with a spreadsheet, cannot be represented by a checklist. It requires a description of the way in which they approach a task and the support that they need.


Conceptual understanding – focus on the concepts behind the basic computer skills for kindergarten children. Whole class teaching can be used to discuss examples and non-examples, both with and without ICT, in order to highlight the important features of the concept. Challenge naïve ideas about handling ICT tools and techniques, both in whole class teaching where appropriate, and when monitoring the individual.