The physical development of young children in early childhood education and care is essentially important and is emphasised within the EYLF learning outcomes.
As part of your practice in the early learning setting of preschool, kindergarten or early primary you need to create physical environments that have a strong and positive impact on young children’s learning.
Technology and fine motor skills can be combined in the EYLF learning outcome 3 and it is an excellent way to use teaching strategies for fine motor skills whilst integrating technology in the preschool classroom.
Physical development in the area of fine motor skills can be improved when you use technology in preschool activities.
So what are fine motor skills? They are to do with the use of smaller muscles of the hands and with young children, they are commonly used in activities such as in holding pencils, playing with blocks, using scissors etc.
The reason why fine motor skills are important is that they are essential for young children to perform everyday tasks in addition to academic tasks. If these skills are not developed effectively, then the self-esteem of the child can suffer from having a flow-on effect on their academic performance along with their ability to play as a result of being limited.
The consequence is that valuable life skills are lost such as getting dressed and feeding themselves. This can be socially damaging to the individual child.
To learn about the most important fine motor skills, read here.
Making Instructional Decisions in Preschool
Some experts on fine motor skill development have believed in the past that technology has a negative impact on preschoolers. It is my opinion, though, that the advancement of technology can help improve development and here’s why:
- Technology in preschool activities should be seen as a means to an end. It should be integrated effectively through careful planning.
- Technology in preschool is a tool designed for a specific purpose just like other tools in the preschool classroom.
- It is the preschool teacher’s and/or adult’s responsibility to instruct the children in their care appropriately. Lack of responsible decisions on behalf of you as the adult will have a negative impact on fine motor skills if you are that allows young children too much time without constructive activities with technology.
The effective use of technology teaching strategies in preschool ensures that this kind of practice does not occur. It also helps you promote ICT/technology as a tool that takes away from the fact that we all take technology for granted.
Here are examples of teaching strategies for fine motor skills that encourage fine motor experiences:
- Have young children exercise fingers before working with technology equipment.
- Have young children practice holding and using the mouse on the computer.
- Have young children use a pencil to draw a picture of something they see on a computer.
- Have young children practice cutting out a computer-generated picture.
- Have young children use a finger to trace a picture on the computer screen.
- Have young children reach and grasp computer disks with their fingers and hands.
- Have young children finish an incomplete picture on a computer.
- Have young children use a crayon to copy a picture from a computer.
- Have young children practice pointing to letters on a keyboard.
- Have young children trace the dotted line of a computer generated picture.
(Peterson, 2015, pp. 15-16)
As I mentioned earlier, the use of technology in early childhood education can improve fine motor skills in younger children. This is achieved through a young child’s manipulation of ICT equipment. For example, using a mouse and controlling the cursor.
On the other hand, physical development plays a big role in the way in which young children can use and manipulate technology. Be aware that some technology can be very challenging and so, the mouse the child moves would need to be the smaller size of mouse purchased for children.
You need to also be aware of the physical abilities of young children in your classroom when deciding whether and which technology in the preschool classroom to use.
Special Education Needs
When looking for fine motor skills assistive technology in preschool keep in mind that you can purchase or access websites programs that have been specifically designed to help develop particular skills that are likely to found in Individual educational plans (IEPs).
Remember, that computer-based activities, however, can help get you started with practice on specialised tasks. For example, a computer activity that requires the child to click the mouse or touch the screen to pop bubbles that appear at different locations would help the child develop fine motor skills for preschoolers.
Other fine motor skills assistive technology would be that of multi-touch capabilities such as that on tablet computers. This allows them to participate in activities even if they don’t have the fine motor skills for preschools.
LEARN ALSO ABOUT:
The effects of technology on fine motor skills can be positive if your instructional thinking is sufficiently thought out in careful and considerate planning. As people, we are becoming more reliant on technology yet you can overcome this with evidence based technology teaching strategies in preschool.
It is your responsibility as the preschool teacher or adult to ensure that technology in preschool is used in the best way to develop fine motor skills for preschoolers.
To join our online workshops for preschool teachers and learn more about our technology teaching strategies in preschool, click this button below. For under $100 AUD join like-minded teachers and further collaborate and communicate in the online professional learning community.
Completing this online workshop for preschool teachers will contribute to 5 hours of NESA and TQI PD addressing 2.6.2, 4.5.2 and 5.1.2 of Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW, Qld and Vic.