Preschool Software

Education has changed in a big way since the IT revolution came to pass. I didn’t really realize this until I saw preschoolers glued before their computers. Crayons and water-colors and clay and all that stuff isn’t exactly passé, but computers are taking over in a big way as an educational medium. There are loads of excellent preschool software programs available in the market currently. There are creativity and productivity software that have been developed by child educational experts and child psychologists. There are programs that encourage creative activities like drawing and writing. There are games, often starring favorite comic or cartoon characters, that will teach your preschooler to use the mouse, recognize colors, shapes, and letters, read and type, and so on. There are games that foster better coordination and problem solving abilities and critical thinking skills. There are games that encourage imagination and exploration. There are games that are fun and appealing and at the same time are touted to make great inroads in the learning process. It is rather baffling actually the sheer diversity and variety in the educational material you can find.

Since preschool software can be quite expensive in some cases and you can’t return it once it has been used, you need to think before you buy. What is the whole purpose behind buying this particular software? What kind of experience do you want your child to have? What kind of learning will it provide? What is the exact educational content? Does it gel with your educational philosophy? Will it really benefit your child and help him or her become more creative? Will it interest your child? What does your child want? Are you prepared to be involved in the learning process since a software, however brilliant, isn’t going to achieve it on its own? Are you really thinking of your child’s educational needs or is this a virtual escape from the trials of parenthood? You know, park the kids before their own computer, so they don’t bother you at yours.

Personally, I’m not at all sure that giving computer access to preschoolers is such a great idea. At this age, a kid should be out exploring the real world and interacting with real people, not be stuck before a television or a computer screen experiencing it all second-hand. If you want to learn about colors or shapes, you can do that in the real world just as well. In fact, you should. Take your kid out on walks or hikes or picnics and things like that. Spend time together doing things and building things in the actual world. Childhood is a precious time and I envisage a ‘My Family and Other Animals’ kind of childhood, not a ‘Matrix’ type, for my kid.

Computers will be a big enough and indispensable part of your children’s lives as they grow older. Starting earlier isn’t going to make them any more smarter. And if it does, so what? As someone really, really, really smart once said, if you win in the rat race, that means you’re just officially the biggest rat around. I mean, c’mon, what would you personally like to remember? That you visited the Borneo Rain Forest when you were three or that you googled the pictures of the Borneo Rain Forest when you were three?

But, like I said, this is my personal opinion and it’s not likely to stem the tide. It’s inevitable, of course, that kids should want to use computers too. Nearly everybody does these days after all, and most kids want to be doing the same things their peers are doing. What you as a parent should do is restrict the time spent on the computer – watch out for eye strain and body fatigue. Also be sure to monitor your kids’ activities stringently, especially if the kid has progressed to online adventures. There are just too many creeps and predators with legal second chances around. Keep the computer in the family room, so you always know what’s going on.

by Sonal Panse.

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