My wife recently received an ipad through her work. Of course, after Kelly was finished setting it up and playing with it herself, my two children, Maggie and Abe wanted their turn to play on the ipad. Maggie is a typical four year old little girl and Abe is an all boy two year old.
I am sure that the creators of the ipad did not intend for little children to be able to work an ipad. But they were wrong! It did not take more than a minute for Maggie to slide the bar and turn on the ipad. Maggie was opening apps, playing games and managing the ipad like she has had it for years. Of course, Abe wanted his turn on the ipad. To my amazement, after he saw what Maggie was doing, he was able to play on the ipad as well. Granted, his touches were not as gentle as Maggie’s but he was still able to open an app and play the game matching shapes.
That got me thinking about developmentally appropriate practices. One of my biggest pet peeves as a teacher and an early childhood director is when people say “I can’t do that because it is not developmentally appropriate for my class.” It bothers me when people categorize an entire class or group together as to what children can and cannot do. Perhaps there is a child or two that is ready for a new concept. Perhaps there is a child or two that needs some additional time to learn a concept. As teachers, we have such a great responsibility to make sure that each and every child is learning. As you know, no two children learn at the same pace. That is difficult when you have a classroom full of children, all needing different skills and all learning new concepts at different times.
Thank you for continuing to work with ALL children to ensure that each and every child is receiving the knowledge and experiences when he/she is ready for it. Who knows, maybe our children are ready for their own ipads - and they might just be able to teach us a few things on the way!