At the heart of every effective curriculum, is a progressive plan for the learning and development of children in early childhood.
In an earlier article, I outlined the 11 key aspects to know developing your curriculum plans. However, by the end of this one you will learn the importance of planning when using technology in early childhood education.
Plans are the key to making learning effective, exciting and progressive.
Its purpose is to ensure that all children enjoy a balanced curriculum.
Every plan is therefore, a working document which will repay your efforts and time in preparing a path for progression.
Strategic planning in early childhood education will help you to develop and enrich the best opportunities for children.
In general, there are several reasons why need to plan: (Raban, 2010, p31)
- For organisation within the setting, to ensure that you know what you are doing and have the appropriate resources available.
- To make your work visible to colleagues, families and other professionals.
- To be able to discuss clearly what you are doing, as well as how and why, with parents and other professionals.
- To make sure you are developing a wide range of experiences for children through a variety of opportunities, both indoors and outdoors.
- To enable you to respond to each child as an individual, by reflecting on what you know about the children and what you identify for your teaching through documentation.
- To promote learning and development by supporting children’s individual strengths and abilities as well as those of the group.
- To ensure you are maintaining appropriate challenges and stimulation for the children and supporting their active learning, while enabling them to experience success and achievement.
- To introduce new ideas and experiences.
- To help support any interests and strengths in children’s experiences and learning.
Planning is particularly important when incorporating the use of ICT into the curriculum.
As new technologies emerge, you must continually adapt and make changes to successfully integrate them into the curriculum.
It is for this reason, that out of all the curriculum elements, that ICT has the greatest amount of change.
This means that the skills and needs of the children in your care must be updated as the other skills become outdated.
Planning your ICT provision in early childhood education will also have to take into consideration the Early Learning Goals as noted in the EYLF.
Your provision for ICT will need to show as well where continuity and progression exists within it.
Continuity describes those aspects of a child’s experiences that stay the same regardless of their age. So in other words, you would be looking at the significant features of ICT that occur on a regular basis throughout a child’s time whilst in your care.
Even in the foundation stage of learning from F-2, there are key points to consider when planning for ICT use.
In order for the full potential of technology to be harnessed, you need to remember that it is the student who should always be in control of the technology. Not the opposite.
You need to plan and prepare for this in light of the fact that there will be individual learning styles to need to meet.
Key areas such as interactivity, provisionality, capacity and range, and speed and automatic function, should always be an important checklist when considering the advantages that ICT can bring as they form the pedagogical basis upon which your lesson should be based.
Your planning in early childhood education should always be seen as a flexible, working document. Nothing should ever remain static especially when considering the integration of technology in the early years curriculum. The important thing to remember is that every child in your care has the right to enjoy learning through the curriculum and to also ensure you are capable of meeting their needs.