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Computers have become a common and needed part of life in today’s society, making computer education imperative for children. Young children will typically begin to show an interest in the home PC by their toddler years. While it is may be a good idea to begin introducing your toddler to the computer in very short sessions, most children can began to learn and understand a computer’s functionality by preschool age.
Preschool age children can learn to turn the computer on by themselves and will quickly learn to operate the mouse. Simple games that teach and reinforce basic school readiness skills are great for this age. Computer education for preschool age children should be limited to short sessions of about 30 minutes a few times a week.
Many childcare facilities offer computer time as part of their weekly curriculum for preschoolers. Structured games and activities give young children an opportunity to explore the way a computer works. Games that require dragging objects across the screen are excellent for building mouse skills in beginner users. Chose age-appropriate software and websites that involve alphabet and color recognition, shapes, counting, or short stories that are read aloud. Activities that feature music are also enjoyable for a preschooler’s computer
Kindergartners are normally still exploring the basics of computer use and will probably do best with activities that reinforce simple skills. As children become more comfortable with the computer, more complex games and activities can be introduced. Computer education for kindergartners typically consists of short sessions of no more than an hour, playing games that correlate with their classroom learning material.
By first grade, children have usually gained a good understanding of how to use a mouse and they are learning to use keyboard letters to type. Games like Typing Instructor for Kids can help young children become fast and efficient computer users. Early elementary age children are ready to move beyond simple reinforcement and skill drill activities to the many different functions of a computer.
First through third graders should use the computer as a supplement for their classroom work. A student studying about stars and planets can use the internet to search for pictures and information about constellations. An assignment about Africa can include a search for videos of African animals. Allow your child to work on his own, but stay close by to prevent access to inappropriate content and to answer
Software programs that allow children to create, like an art or publishing suite designed specifically for kids, can boost creativity along with providing exposure to technology. Grade level skills can also be practiced
and enhanced with math, reading, and spelling computer games. There are a number of kid-friendly websites that provide search engines, games, and interaction opportunities.
Computer education for children should also include writing and creative writing activities. First graders are beginning to familiarize themselves with the keyboard and can write short letters or emails. By second and third grade, children can use word processor programs or writing software designed for children to write and publish their own short stories and poems, as well as use email to write to relatives.
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