Going to kindergarten in this new age is a lot different than it was when we were children. Modern children are more aware of the adult world, more sophisticated and certainly more aware of technology and the internet than was imaginable even a few years ago when that youngster was a newborn. So we have to take that into consideration when we begin to prepare a child for kindergarten because there is really no level of schooling that is untouched by computers and technology.
The first step for finding out how much your child needs to know about computers and the internet day one in kindergarten is to visit the school and talk to the teacher. It really isn’t a matter of kids being forced to learn about cyberspace. Schools are simply using the internet for teaching because kids are showing up already knowing all about it. As you look around any modern kindergarten class, you will see dozens of computer kiosks so the kids can connect to the internet and use the internet for anything from research to communications to learning games to exploring the galaxies.
So much is made about the dangers of the internet and those are certainly real. But there are tremendous resources that the kindergarten teacher will take advantage of to take that new class to wonderful new places using safe and carefully prepared web sites that can enhance the child’s education.
The next step is to find out just how much your little angel already knows about computers and the internet. If you have a computer and you allow your child to wander around the internet already, she may know more than you imagined or wished she knew. But by having a conversation with your child or by sitting online and exploring some basic web sites together, you can gauge her level of skill and knowledge. It will be an unusual meeting between parent and child because its very possible that at times you will be teaching her things and other times she will be the teacher and you the student learning the most modern things that young people, even very young people like your child, already know about the online world.
Be sure when you begin to expose your youngster to the internet that you have also made sure the internet is a safe place for her to be. You can create specific account on your computer just for your child that is heavily restricted. You can get some excellent tools that are often called “net nannies” which will keep your sweet innocent child from accidentally going to sites they should not see. You can even set up a set list of web sites you will allow them to be on and restrict their browser so only those sites are authorized.
Helping your child build internet search skills will jump start her into the modern world of school wonderfully. But there are other computer skills that being online will help her develop to make her more efficient even in this very basic level of schooling at kindergarten. If you can open the world of email, instant messaging and chat to your child on kid safe web sites where she will be talking to other children only, your five year old will actually develop fairly well developed typing skills being motivated by the fun of online conversation with other kids.
There are other computer tools that will of tremendous value to your child that she can begin to get exposure to in the months leading up to kindergarten. The Microsoft office suite which is so useful to adults will be an important tool set for any student even in elementary school. Learning to use the powerful resources of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint will give your child ways to accomplish their school assignments that are fun because they are on the computer and so much more efficient than the old pencil and notebook method.
By thinking like a twenty first century parent, you can start even at the kindergarten level to see your child’s school experience as one that will be heavily influenced by computer skills and the internet. And by equipping your child to be ready to use those tools from day one at kindergarten, she is jumping into school way ahead in terms of being equipped to be a big success in her academic career.