Opinion: Using technology to bridge the gap between home and nursery learning
Chris Reid, chief executive officer, Connect Childcare
Monday, March 29, 2021
Connect Childcare’s Chris Reid gives his view on how technology can provide an 'immediate' way to seamlessly join up a child's learning between home and setting.
Chris Reid: 'Technology can enable an up-to-date two-way flow of information between parents and childcarers'.
One of the biggest ways technology can be beneficial to nurseries is by creating a two-way channel for seamless communication with parents.
Childcare staff are the ones who spend time with children every day – seeing them learn and progress – and it’s only when this is communicated to parents that they are able to have greater visibility and understanding about their children’s interests and preferred learning styles.
Parents and practitioners keeping one another up to date – with photos of observations and daily event logs – not only helps to create a more effective, closed loop learning experience, but also assists nursery staff when planning future activities.
Supporting parents with home-schooling
Throughout the pandemic’s lockdown periods, many families across the country – whether they have younger or older children – have dipped their toe in the home-schooling water.
And given that early years staff are usually the only ones who are fully aware of each child’s progress and development, this proved undoubtedly tricky for parents.
This is where technology as an enabler comes into the equation.
Facilitating dialogue between staff and parents is step one, but when practitioners are able to share suggested activity resources or point families in the right direction about where they can find suitable materials, that’s when communication transforms into collaboration.
For example, if early years practitioners can review and comment on learning observations in the home, this also gives real-time feedback to parents and not only helps them keep their children motivated, but also supports the planning of future activities.
Using technology that parents are familiar with every day is an effective way to offer further assistance, as it enables families to work in tandem with practitioners on progressing their children’s learning journey – allowing both parties to feel a unified sense of reward, too.
Enhancing a child’s learning experience
If young children are being supported both at nursery and home, this can only be a positive thing for their development, and there have been many studies carried out to demonstrate this intrinsic link.
Research by Ofsted, for example, interviewed 208 providers and found that children whose parents are able to spend quality time with them often demonstrated improved vocabulary and cognitive skills.
It’s also true that children are known to act or react differently depending on who they are with, so when it comes to gaining a true-to-life picture of how they learn best – and where they may need additional support – technology can help educators and parents alike to document and piece this together.
And when using paper-based systems, it can not only be difficult to ensure that all the different pieces of paper for each youngster are in one place, but it can also become out of date more quickly than if the child’s records are digitised.
Is technology the future?
Marrying up the work practitioners carry out with children’s home environments has always been important, but as the age of digital transformation continues to accelerate at a rapid rate, and our day-to-day lives become busier, embracing technology to enhance the learning journey overall, will likely become the norm.
But when asking if savvy solutions are the future of child development – both in settings and at home – it’s safe to say they will continue to play a part in developing a holistic approach. However, it should enable practitioners and parents to deliver their expertise and teachings more effectively, as they are the true experts.
Find out more about Connect Childcare