Adelphi's Alice Brown Early Learning Center (ELC) has another approach to technology. Smartphones and tablets are out. Blocks and song circles are in.
Some preschools emphasize technology as early preparation for the careers of the future. But in an era when even Apple’s investors are warning that children are becoming addicted to devices, Adelphi’s Alice Brown Early Learning Center (ELC) has another approach to technology. Smartphones and tablets are out. Blocks and song circles are in.
“All the recent research on brain development and technology shows that what really helps children learn are warm, loving, reciprocal relationships,” said Laura Ludlam, M.S.Ed. ’00, director of the center. “We’re not against technology. We’re looking at what’s going to give children a firm foundation for future growth and success.”
Approximately 75 children attend the ELC. They range in age from 18 months to 5 years. The classroom for the youngest children has no technology at all, but in the classrooms for mixed groups of 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds, there are indeed computers with children’s programming and internet service. But they get surprisingly limited use, said Ludlam, who added, “Truthfully, children are much more interested in being actively engaged with materials and people.”
The ELC is also a training ground for Adelphi undergraduates majoring in fields related to early childhood. Ludlam sees the center’s low-tech approach benefiting them as well.
At lunch, she often sees tables full of college students lost in their phones, right next to each other but not interacting. Something amazing happens, though, when the undergraduates put away their phones and join the children, she said. Children, students, teachers—they all play.
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