Cherry.bytes is fun and engaging; a world of new experiences where your preschool child will be encouraged to ‘learn to love to learn’ and become ‘passionately curious’!
Cherry.bytes is unique to Kindercare, focusing on actively involving your child in the use of technology to create and explore, rather than just being a passive user who ‘consumes’ technology.
What is Cherry.bytes?
Each week, preschool children between 3½ and 5 years old, participate in a supervised and carefully planned 45 minute, small group session. The teachers are specialist teachers who are trained to select intentional learning experiences that support each child’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive learning and development. The Cherry.bytes teachers assume the role of ‘technology tour guides’ enabling both the children and teacher to focus on the actual learning, NOT the technology.
Children are eligible to attend Cherry.bytes at around 3 years and 6 months because it's at this stage of development that they are becoming less egocentric and can begin to understand the concepts of sharing and turn-taking. Developing social skills is an important part of the Cherry.bytes program, as children work in pairs, have discussions and make discoveries alongside a partner.
Why use iPads?
Working primarily on iPads, the sessions incorporate interactive, creative and innovative activities to extend Kindercare’s early childhood curriculum and support the development of your child’s full potential. They will use technology as a learning tool to process their learning of new concepts or express their understanding of new discoveries.
- iPads create an interactive learning environment.
- iPads support a wide range of learning styles; they’re intuitive,tactile and motivate children to be highly engaged.
- iPads are lightweight and portable, making them suitable for use in a wide variety of indoor and outdoor settings.
- iPads are amulti-media device – preschool children can use them to take photos, record audio, shoot videos and create books and puppet shows.
- iPads are amulti-purpose They can be a science lab, research station, history archive, language lab, art canvas, music studio and library.
- iPads are instantlyresponsive - touch screens enable children to develop their fine motor skills as they use their fingers to tap, swipe, rotate and ‘pinch’ to change the size of images. This is especially beneficial for young children, who learn by doing.
- iPads allow learning to be spontaneous and children can build on their individual interests and strengths. iPads inspire curiosity and wonder and children can make connections to the real world.
Links to the Curriculum Program
Technology is everywhere and it’s here to stay! Young children are ‘Digital Natives’, born into a world of technology. Many children are already using digital devices. Deciding whether technology helps or hinders children’s development depends more on what specific technology is being used, how it is being used and the frequency with which is it being used! Used wisely and innovatively in education, Kindercare believes that technology when used appropriately, has the potential to open up a whole new world of learning opportunities that were previously inconceivable.
Technology is not used to replace other learning; it simply provides children with another tool to be used responsibly to support their early education in an innovative, exciting way – and without the negative impact of misuse and/or overuse.
A wide range of features in our education program are incorporated, including music and movement, Foundation Skills, and the ‘You Can Do It’ program to nurture the development of your child’s social and emotional competencies. Your child will also be learning early stage 21st Century Learning Skills – Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Communicating and Collaborating. These skills are vital for successful formal learning in the changing world of education.
Cherry.bytes gives children the opportunity and confidence to recognise and build on their interests, knowledge, abilities and experiences. It’s inspiring to see how it encourages the use of language, builds personal confidence and persistence, and allows creativity to flourish. The look of amazement and delight on the children’s faces when they view their creations is priceless! Better still, their projects can be shared with families via Educa’s online portfolios.
Tips for Parents and Families
To ensure your child is using technology in an age-appropriate and beneficial way:
- Interactivity and adult participation are key to ensuring technology time is beneficial. Good educational apps or computer programs should build on parent involvement and facilitate conversations between parents and children as they co-view.
- Screen viewing time needs to beregulated, as children become passive or inactive when they spend too much time on a tablet, smartphone or watching TV. Current health regulations suggest time spent using digital media for entertainment purposes should be limited to one hour per day for children 2 to 5 years of age.
- The focus should be on living well with media devices rather than opposing or restricting them. We have to be aware that devices are just tools. They are neutral. What we do with them, what we demonstrate for our children, and what we let our children do with them is what determines the outcome. What are we role-modelling as adults? Are we digitally preoccupied, distracted, dependent, disconnected...?
- Bedrooms, mealtimes and parent-child playtimes should be kept screen free. Prevent screens from displacing sleep, exercise, real play, reading aloud and social interactions. Create unplugged spaces and times at home for everyone in the family. Plan ahead for unplugged time – “What can we do when we turn off the screen?”
The Story Behind Cherry.bytes
Kindercare originally researched, designed and introduced the Cherry.bytes programme in 2000, to provide a unique computer and technology-based learning program that would complement the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum - Te Whâriki.