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iPad education for kids

The iPad: limitless potential for childhood learning and creativity

There are some conflicting opinions amongst parents and educators as to the benefits of introducing electronic devices, such as the iPad, to young children who are not yet at school. There are many studied and documented benefits of iPad use in school aged students, however the pre-school demographic, is yet unresearched. A common sense approach is the best way forward, especially when the possibilities for new learning and entertainment is almost boundless.

The Raising Children Network, the Australian parenting website, has a great perspective on the introduction of iPads to young children, “research shows that children can benefit from media (including television, movies, computer games). The benefits depend on how old your child is, and what kind and quality of media your child is using.”

How many times have you seen a young child grab an iPhone or iPad and instinctively work its magic, seemingly ‘one-with-the-device’, usually well before their parents have figured out all of the functions and applications. This is due to the iPhone/iPad’s touch screen nature; there are no coordination or dexterity barriers such as the use of a mouse and keyboard on a computer. Usually, when a child has the coordination to use the device, more often than not from the ages 24 months upwards, they are able to gain great benefit from the insightful and informative applications that are available for their age group.

Many iPad app developers have recognised that the iPad is a new frontier of learning and entertainment for young children and have created immersive, multi-sensory applications that engage, educate and surprise young kids on a regular basis. Gone are the days when a DVD player could be set up in the back seat of the car – why would you when an iPad offers a toy chest of interactive and enjoyable games!

Actual demonstrated benefits of iPad use in young children – which are exponentially multiplied with parental interaction – include:

  • improved literacy skills, such as alphabet recognition and reproduction as well as reading,
  • numeracy skills, recognition and reproduction as well as early arithmetic skills,
  • numeracy skills, recognition and reproduction as well as early arithmetic skills,
  • social skills, such as roll playing, taking directions and constructive criticisms,
  • problem solving skills,
  • general knowledge learning, as well as
  • becoming comfortable with a technology platform that will become more and more part of their educational experience during their schooling years.

Obviously, iPad use isn't a substitute for teaching or for play; rather it is another tool to spark curiosity in children during a time where they are learning the different facets of the world around them.

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