The Advantages of Digital Solutions in Early Years Education.   

Read about the benefits of early years digital solutions and how best to use them within your setting. 

The marmite of early years, love them or hate them, there is no avoiding the fact that digital solutions play a pivotal role in our daily lives. This means introducing children to the age of digital is fast becoming an important tool within early years education. 

But you may be wondering how best to do this whilst sensitively teaching parents about the advantages of technology in the home under close supervision and monitoring. 

What are the best early years resources to support technology?

How does technology promote child development in a positive way?

In this blog post we will explore the advantages of digital solutions in early years and how best to introduce them into your setting.  

What are the advantages of digital solutions in early years education?

While the technology strand has been removed from the updated EYFS (2021)where it formally sat within “Understanding The World”, it still plays an important part in lesson plans for the way it supports child development. Technology is also something that is used predominantly in schools from Reception class upwards so it helps with transition to school if children are already familiar with devices such as interactive boards.

This early introduction to technology is something that is commonplace for children as they are the generation growing up surrounded by technology. 

While we are conscious of children spending too long in front of screens, we need to also be aware of the benefits of technology. 

Remember, think of the bigger picture when we talk about technology. It isn’t just about the use of laptops and tablets. Technology covers resources such as light up toys, digital picture books and even pushing buttons on toys. 

Other examples of using technology within your early years setting are:

  • Using a camera to take a photo.
  • Playing with a Beebot.
  • Listening to music.
  • Watching a video clip.

We have seen digital solutions grow rapidly in the last two years and are now part of the everyday normal for children. They are seeing technology used in the home more than ever before. This is something that is supported within early years settings as technology is used for communicating with parents, enhancing a child’s development and supporting learning within early years settings. 

The advantages of the use of digital solutions:

  • Using technology offers opportunities to develop and promote social skills within a setting such as turn taking and being able to follow a set of instructions. Within your early years setting, you may have a laptop or tablet which the children have access to. If they are using it to play games, they will learn to turn take and you can still have conversations around what it is they are doing and why. 
  • Practitioners in early years settings need to be confident in talking to children about what they are using technology for and engaging in their play in the same way you would if they were playing in the sand or outside. There is no reason why technology needs to stop imagination. It provides the perfect opportunity for role play and you may notice your children mimicking influential adults in their lives, using technology. eg . a parent talking on a phone: a child would use a prop as a phone and pretend to be talking on the phone. 
  • There are also a number of ways in which you can combine children’s traditional play with technology. For example taking their favourite book and making a short film. 
  • Technology also helps to promote language development in early childhood through communication, role play and engaging with children from different backgrounds including supporting multilingualism. Children are able to use technology in creative ways that we may not yet be recognising, which is both interesting and exciting to observe. 
  • Another advantage of digital solutions is from an admin point of view. Using digital solutions for your settings observations, invoicing and communications with parents, allows you to free up precious time that can be used for lesson playing or observing the children. 

The best early years resources to support technology.

When introducing technology to your early years setting, it is important to use age appropriate programmes and settings. However, technology isn’t just about using laptops or tablets. Technology could be light up toys, CD players, illuminated mark making boards  and digital picture books. These are all examples of ways we can support the field of digitalisation with the children within our care, preparing them for the future. After all, digital solutions are already part of children’s everyday lives. 

You can easily introduce technology into your planning using these early years resources or EAL resources for early years. The advantages outweigh any negatives if you are using the right tools and engaging with the children as they use these resources. 

We have seen the advantages of using digital picture books to promote language development within the early years and promote inclusivity for children where English is a second language. 

Polylino is a multilingual digital picture book service for nurseries and primary schools to use with children aged 0-7 years old. The user-friendly digital solution hosts a wide range of picture books which can be read aloud or listened to in English. Many of the books can also be listened to in over 50 different languages as well. 

You can use this resource in an engaging way by reading books together in small groups or even as a whole class. 

We have partnered with publishers and literature experts in the UK to provide hundreds of high-quality picture books on your smart device or computer which are fully aligned with the EYFS and KS1 curriculum, making it a great tool to use within your setting. 

Final thoughts on early years digital solutions…  

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, there is no avoiding technology and so whether you see the positives or not, digital solutions are here to stay. It is something we need to be teaching children from as young as the early years and is an area of learning that Ofsted may be interested in. Hopefully this post has provided some positive ways to promote technology within your setting to support learning and development.