This year's bunch of pre-k kids are more rambunctious, inattentive, and hyperactive than ever. I honestly believe something went wrong in the year they were born, which was 2010. I did a quick google search of what happened in 2010 to try to find an explanation.
What did I find? 2010 was the debut of the first Apple iPad. Now more than ever, kids are in front of screens, even in places that used to be impossible to have.
On the bus, kids, not even 2 years old are strapped to their parents with the iPhone shoved in their face with a YouTube video playing. At that age, they should be taking in the world as it is. Their eyes should be exploring their environment, not glued onto a screen depicting a fantasy land.
Parents and grandparents are so proud of their youngster being so tech savvy, as they are able to find the app that keeps them occupied for hours.
I'm not saying that all technology is bad. It's just when you give your child that high of a stimulus to engage them at such a young age, that's the standard teachers have to compete with. They're unable to listen to a beautifully written story or appreciate stunningly illustrated pictures because it isn't touch screen or interactive.
It's no wonder my kids are having such a difficult time in school. I have a few iPads and laptops in the classroom that are used for our listening center. Our kids use them for listening to stories. The students who love stories can stay engaged throughout center time. Kids who expect to play games will go there with high expectations and will leave bored because they aren't slicing fruit or moving candy.
It's no surprise to find out that those students who offer more to class discussions and can stay engaged through a read aloud are those who have parents who regulate their screen time and spend quality time with their children.
The students with the most issues are the ones who are spending the most time in front of a screen at home. They've told me. Their parents have told me. These children are unable to sit still on the carpet for a read aloud or discussion. I understand they are four years old and their attention span is short. But those same kid are magically able to focus as soon as the smart board screen projects an image, even if it's just the TEQ logo.
I've started to ask the parents of these children to significantly reduce screen time at home. It's time to spend quality time conversing and playing with their children rather than having a screen to keep them quiet and busy. I also hope to provide parents with more screen free ideas for their children in the near future.