Note: Video available for this story
The kindergarten classroom at Margaret’s House Child Care Center at Rochester Institute of Technology just got a few new favorite toys—iPads.
While many adults may use iPads every day for work, the children at Margaret’s House have been using the tablets to learn and develop skills in everything from measuring to reading. The center was able to purchase six iPads and one desktop iMac for the kindergarten classroom with help from a $5,000 grant from Dan Rosica, a board member of the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund.
“If I were to let the kids play with the iPads all day, they probably would,” says Susan Northrup, the kindergarten teacher at Margaret’s House. “Realistically, we like to use them a couple times a week as an enhancement for what we are learning that week.”
The tablets are enclosed in military-grade cases and loaded with a dozen interactive story books and games, such as Bugs and Buttons, Cake Doodle, Grandpa’s Workshop and Monster at the End of the Book… Starring Grover. Each game and story not only enhances the children’s knowledge of technology as an educational tool, but also expands their learning experiences in phonics, writing, music, art, reading math and engineering.
“Children come to Margaret’s House from a wide variety of background and countries, but almost any of them can pick up an iPad and naturally figure out how to use it,” Kristi Ziehl, a project specialist in RIT’s Information and Technology Services who helped the center apply for the grant. “In fact, the children may be better at operating the iPads than some adults.”
The full-day kindergarten program at Margaret’s House each year enrolls between eight and 12 children of students, alumni, faculty and staff at RIT, as well as from the Rochester community. iPad time is often full of group interaction, as the kindergarteners will share the six tablets and play along with classmates during games.
Northrup uses the new desktop computer to research class projects with the children, as they study anything from languages to animals. She also enjoys creating videos and photo slideshows of the class to send home for parents.
“This new educational technology allows us to more fully develop individualized learning programs for each child’s abilities, while still enabling the kids to interact socially and have fun,” Northrup says. “Plus, they make for much easier clean up.”
To learn more and see a video about the Margaret’s House tech smart kindergarteners, go to youtube.com/watch?v=FK5eTHUBeMs.