Mobile phones, Ipads, tablets…How do we best use electronic devices in our service?

As I sat holding a young baby in a childcare setting recently, I looked down and could see the baby had worked out how to touch the screen on my smart watch to change the flower pictures.  As a true believer of the importance of non- screen time and active play for all children (and adults) I have realized the devices we use in our daily lives, are here to stay.

So how do we make sure devices are used ethically and in a balanced way with young children in childcare?

Mobile Phones

The first step is to check your policies and procedures.  Many services will not allow staff to have phones on the floor as they distract staff from supervising children safely.

As educators, we need to be engaged with children, watch the room or playground, implement experiences and respond to children’s emerging needs.  We certainly don’t have the time or mind space to respond to text messages or scroll Facebook or check out the latest TicTok.

 iPads and tablets

It is common to see several devices in the classroom as staff take images for learning stories and to share experiences with families online. Use of online platforms have become a mainstay in our childcare services and they have made our lives easier in many ways.

Some services have taken the position of not allowing children to play games on devices in childcare services due to concerns about their use.


Because children need traditional, natural play to be able to grow and develop skills.  It is all about balance!

 A few tips for using devices in your service:

* Follow service policies and procedures

*Keep the number of images for planning and sharing to a minimum. 

* Think about the goal of your photos.  Make every one count and focus on development and process rather than the result. Write about the importance of the skills children are developing and link to the framework.

*Take an average of 3 images per experience-beginning, middle and end.  If we focus too much on taking photos, we are not engaging directly with the children.

* Allow children long periods of time to explore environments and experiences rather than packing away once you have photos of their play.

*Explore the use of devices for their discovery and research with older children. 

*Teach older children who are interested, how to take photos and make observations as part of their play.

Electronic devices are here to stay, be mindful about their use and make free play, away from electronic screens, the priority.


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