Digital Technology at Thrive
As part of our Thrive Early Learning Curriculum, we utilise the ELLA Program. ELLA is a digital, play-based language learning program for preschool children.
The benefits of learning languages and culture with the ELLA Program include:
• Improved language skills
• Larger vocabulary
• Better general language learning
• Improved reading and writing
• Improved verbal ability
• Improved mathematical skills
• Improved musical skills
Our Early Childhood Educators are trained to understand how to use digital technology in a safe and appropriate way with the children in our care.
The experience of growing up in digital contexts is not universally the same—not every child and family will use, value or understand digital technologies in the same way. As such, there is no simple answer to understanding the role and optimal use of digital technologies with, by and for young children in early childhood education settings.
We recognise that instead of working towards a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, we as educators must work in partnership with children and families, and implement digital technology in a way that promotes each child’s individual outcomes.
We are guided by the Early Childhood Australia Digital Policy Statement which provides principles and practice advice across four known areas of importance in early childhood education:
- Health and Wellbeing
- Play and Pedagogy
1. Practice advice to promote Relationships:
• Use digital technologies to promote social interactions between children, peers and adults.
• Support children in turn-taking and learning to share when using digital technologies in collaboration with others.
• Foster children’s peer-to-peer interactions as opportunities for co-learning about and with digital technologies.
The way that young children interact, engage with and experience digital technologies can have implications for health and wellbeing. This includes their physical activity, posture, vision, sleep and emotions.
2. Practice advice to promote Health & Wellbeing:
• Provide digital technology experiences for young children that promote movement opportunities.
• Ensure children participate in both digital and non-digital activities to build strength and skills in their hands and fingers.
• Ensure that screen-based digital technology use while sitting is only for short periods and does not replace periods of active physical movement.
• Promote postural awareness and change by providing a variety of spaces and heights for children to use digital technologies.
• Promote screen-free sleeping areas and the use of non-screen-based calming activities with children before nap times and evening bedtimes.
Citizenship in digital contexts recognises that young children are active participants in their communities now and into the future. As citizens, young children respect their own rights and those of other people, and develop an appreciation for cultural, racial, gender and religious diversity. Digital rights, digital privacy, online safety and cyber-safety education provide a foundation for early citizenship in digital contexts.
3. Practice advice to promote Citizenship:
• We develop policies and guidelines about the collection, use, retention and deletion of digital data held about young children and families.
• Ensure proactive adult supervision of young children’s online activities, including the use of filters and restrictions on devices and networks in the early childhood education and care setting.
• Maintain conversations with young children about their online experiences, both positive and negative, to ensure they are supported by adults in their online engagements.
• Model internet use with children for learning purposes and provide opportunities for assessing the quality and relevance of information.
• We direct families towards government and/or not-for-profit organisations for advice on the selection of digital media, content, apps and games that are appropriate for use by young children.
Young children have opportunities for play and pedagogy in digital contexts. Play and pedagogy involve children using a range of digital devices for exploration, meaning-making, collaboration and problem-solving. Educators engage in active decision making about the use and non-use of digital technologies for learning.
4. Practice advice to promote Play & Pedagogy:
• Promote play involving children in digital technology use with digital and non-digital tools and materials to build knowledge about the use of technologies for communication, collaboration and information sharing.
• Seek young children’s perspectives regarding the role and use of digital technologies in their own lives, play and learning.
• Model active decision making regarding digital technology use with, by and for young children that provides a balance of digital and non-digital experiences and activities in early childhood education and care settings.
The Australia Government have outlined a 24-hour-movement guidelines, which highlights recommended time frames for physical activity, sedentary play and screen time, which are relevant to all apparently healthy infants (less than 1 year), toddlers (1–2 years), and pre-schoolers (3–5 years), irrespective of gender, cultural or language background, geographic location, or socio-economic status of the family.
INFANTS (AGED < 1 YEAR)
For infants, a healthy 24 hours includes:
• Physical activity: Being physically active several times in a variety of ways, particularly through interactive floor-based play; more is better. For those not yet mobile, this includes at least 30 minutes of tummy time spread throughout the day while awake;
• Sedentary behaviour: Not being restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g., in a stroller, car seat or high chair). Screen time is not recommended. When sedentary, engaging in pursuits such as reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged; and
• Sleep: 14 to 17 hours (for those aged 0-3 months) and 12 to 16 hours (for those aged 4-11 months) of good quality sleep, including naps.
TODDLERS (AGED 1–2 YEARS)
For toddlers, a healthy 24 hours includes:
• Physical activity: At least 180 minutes spent in a variety of physical activities including energetic play, spread throughout the day; more is better;
• Sedentary Behaviour: Not being restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g., in a stroller, car seat or high chair) or sitting for extended periods. For those younger than 2 years, sedentary screen time is not recommended. For those aged 2 years, sedentary screen time should be no more than 1 hour; less is better. When sedentary, engaging in pursuits such as reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged; and
• Sleep: 11 to 14 hours of good quality sleep, including naps, with consistent sleep and wake-up times.
PRE-SCHOOLERS (AGED 3–5 YEARS)
For pre-schoolers, a healthy 24 hours includes:
• Physical activity: At least 180 minutes spent in a variety of physical activities, of which at least 60 minutes is energetic play, spread throughout the day; more is better;
• Sedentary behaviour: Not being restrained for more than 1 hour at a time (e.g., in a stroller or car seat) or sitting for extended periods. Sedentary screen time should be no more than 1 hour; less is better. When sedentary, engaging in pursuits such as reading and storytelling with a caregiver is encouraged; and
• Sleep: 10 to 13 hours of good quality sleep, which may include a nap, with consistent sleep and wake-up times. For greater health benefits , replace time restrained or sedentary screen time with additional energetic play, while preserving sufficient sleep.