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As a child, I pretended that I was a teacher and told everyone I was going to be a teacher one day. As life would have it, I ended up obtaining a business education and working in the financial accounting and auditing world for 15 years.
When I became a parent, I found out how challenging it was to find reliable high quality child care.
We had our child in various child care settings as my husband and I were trying to handle full time work and parenting. After a nanny, a family member, and a child care center, we ended up enrolling our son in a coop preschool where parents volunteered in the classroom. This was an amazing experience for me. While I always loved being around children, I felt that the time I spent in the preschool classroom flew by and I felt refreshed and invigorated.
This was the catalyst that pointed me in the direction of opening a child care center.
The idea was to open a child care center that had the components I was looking for as a parent – clean and well-equipped rooms, loving teachers, and a strong educational component in the daily activities. Due to our professional backgrounds, my husband and I were both very comfortable with technology and we decided early on that we would maximize our use of technology in the classroom, in an effort to create a truly state of the art educational child care center and preschool.
Our vision for the use of technology in preschool included not only the students, but also the teachers, administrative staff, and parents.
My husband and I researched various child care franchises and discovered that Kiddie Academy was the franchise that was a best fit for us. We were impressed with their use of technology both in the operational and educational components of the child care center. Kiddie Academy’s Life Essentials proprietary curriculum appealed to us as parents because it is designed to prepare each child for school and for life.
The curriculum is comprised of four pillars: developmentally appropriate standards-based curriculum, health and fitness, character education and technology education. We were pleased to see that Kiddie Academy incorporated the latest learning software and technology to make learning engaging and fun.
Not only do children learn age-appropriate developmental skills, they also learn computer literacy — a skill that is as essential as reading and writing in today’s digital world.
We believe that leveraging information technology is the best way to streamline operations, ensure proper accounting and management, and provide services beyond just what is required. With the help of Kiddie Academy systems, we created a child care center where parents and teachers are connected via an online system creating a vital community around the child care center.
Teachers utilize tablets in the classrooms to manage activities and daily reports tracking the progress of each child. At the end of each day parents receive a full report complete with pictures and video. Parents can see their child discovering the world around them and watch their social development.
Using technology in the classroom, we can provide parents a video of their child’s first steps or successfully getting a spoonful of food from the bowl into the mouth.
Technology in preschool is used to make learning even more fun and interactive. Preschoolers ages 2.5 to 5 years utilize tablets, child sized workstations, and a Smartboard. These high-tech early education tools provide additional channels through which the child is exposed to concepts and ideas from the educational curriculum, whether it’s discovering facts about rainforest animals, looking into the layers of the earth, or discovering why it rains.
Technology in early childhood education also aids the development of creativity and fine motor skills as children turn the Smartboard into a painting canvas or use it as a writing notepad to practice writing.
The administrative staff also uses technology to maintain student and staff records, provide on-line continuing professional development options, track and develop enrollment and wait lists, communicate with parents on a regular basis or in emergency situations, and for public relations.
For public relations and child care marketing, the old way was to put out magazine advertisements or mass mailings. In today’s world, we have found that online marketing is the most cost effective way to let people know about us and what we have to offer. This can be via sites like CareLuLu, parent blogs, and community forums, other social media sites like Facebook.
This is how we, at Kiddie Academy of DC West End, use technology in preschool. Technology in the classroom has enabled us to be more connected than ever but the truth is, for us, the best part of the day is to hear the happy voices and see the smiling faces on the kids and parents.
We love the visits from grandparents who talk about details of their grandchild’s experience in our child care center because they have signed up to receive our electronic daily reports.
This is priceless and we could not have achieved it without the help of technology.
By Milena Mattingly
Owner of Kiddie Academy of DC West End
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