Sunday, 31 March 2013

Non-Digital Technology.

Children at my centre enjoy dressing up in different cultural costumes and dancing in it. An example of this is children dressing up in the Māori costume and start dancing using the poi.

Another example is the children dressing up in Hawaiian costumes (the hula skirt and the Hawaiian flower necklace) and dancing doing the hula.

 Technology can be defined as a tool for helping children solve problems and be influenced by the culture or the society that we live in (Smorti, 1999). Therefore dressing up in cultural costumes and dancing can be categorized as a non digital technology. We live in a society that has a diverse range of culture. As a result, in my centre we have a range of different costumes for the children to dress up in. Dressing up in costumes from other cultures develops children’s understanding about different cultures and the different types of music and dance that relates to the specific cultures.

I have observed children as they play dress ups. When they put hula skirts on, they will do the hula and when they wear the Māori costumes, children usually use the poi or do the haka. This was a new learning for me, as I didn't know children so young would know the different dances associated with the different cultures.

I personally believe that because we live in New Zealand, children should be given a vast amount of opportunities to experience different aspects of the Māori culture.  Such as; clothes, music, dance and language. Including Māori values in our practice develops children’s understanding about the Māori culture and encourages them to respect different cultures of our society (Ministry of Education, 1996).

Getting dressed up in the Māori costume and dancing with the poi is acknowledging the Treaty of Waitangi and Te Whāriki. The Treaty of Waitangi highlights that the land and other treasures such as Māori customs and values should be protected (Manukau Institute of Technology, 2010). By integrating Māori aspects in our centre through costumes and using poi we are protecting the Māori culture by keeping it alive.

The video below demonstrates one of the traditional poi actions. Children might not be able to do exactly this but as long as they are given the opportunity to experience it, we are respecting and abiding by the Treaty of Waitangi & Te Whāriki.

Traditional Poi Actions.

Apart from the Māori culture, we also have Hawaiian, Asian and Indian costumes for children because we acknowledge and welcome families from different cultures at our centre.

By observing children getting dressed up and having fun, I have learnt that apart from learning about diversity and other cultures children also learn other things. According to the New Zealand Curriculum, dressing up, dancing and music helps children learn to strengthen their social interactions and enhance their literacy skills (Ministry of Education, n.d.). This learning occurs as children begin to listen and respond, sing, dance and play instruments (Ministry of Education, n.d.). 

Seeing children get dressed up and dance in cultural costumes reminds me of my childhood years, when I was in kindergarten as I had done the same things. I remember as a class we danced for the parents, doing the traditional Fijian dance (meke) wearing hula skirts and tops. Therefore seeing children dressing up in different cultural costumes and dancing and having fun always makes me feel happy and joyful. This opportunity teaches children about diversity and the different cultures that are present in our society. It is also a part of Te Whāriki that children be able to experience stories and symbols as well as gain positive awareness of the different cultures (Ministry of Education, 1996).


Manukau Institute of Technology. School of Education. (2010, Semester Two, b). Comparing he Maori text of the Treaty and the English version or draft [Handout]. Manukau City, New Zealand: Author. 

Ministry of Education. (1996). Te Whāriki: He Whāriki mātauranga mo nga mokopuna o Aotearoa. Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media.

Ministry of Education. (n.d.). The New Zealand curriculum online: The Arts. Retrieved from

Smori, S. (1999) Technology in Early Childhood. Early Education, 19, 5-10.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Fun with computers.

Children helping each other
& working together
to solve problems. 

Early childhood education is a field which comes with a commitment of lifelong learning as we teachers are constantly being introduced to new skills, strategies and technology to teach children with (Clark & Grey, 2010). In my centre, computers are now being used to facilitate children’s learning and development; it has become an essential part of children’s life.  Computers do not undermine children’s learning but, to the contrary, it can enhance, extend and increase their learning experiences (Tsantis, Bewick & Thouvenelle, 2003). As I observed children playing on the computer, I could tell by the looks on their faces that they were genuinely having a good time. I could hear children helping each other and working together to solve problems. 

According to Te Whāriki, children should be able to experience a connection between the centre and their home environment (Ministry of Education, 1996). Having a computer in our centre was the connection between the home environments as most children had computers at home and were familiar with it. However for some children, this was their first time using computers. So they were able to learn and develop new skills in order to use the computer.  

Children playing educational
games on the computer.
Children were playing as well as learning literacy and mathematics at the same time. They were playing different kinds of maths and matching word games. This goes in line with Te Whāriki as it states that children should be able to use technology and other resources for mathematics, reading and writing (Ministry of Education, 1996). Using computers keeps children interested for longer and makes learning more fun. 

The following clip from YouTube talks about the benefits of integrating computers in classrooms, on children’s mathematics, literacy and other learning areasComputers in Kindergartens.

I was personally very happy with the idea of having computers in our centres because my philosophy is to help children develop useful skills that would help them in the future. Educators should aim to design their curriculums in order to include values, competencies, knowledge, and skills that students will require for addressing real-life situations (Ministry of Education, 2007). Giving children the opportunity to use computers is setting them up for the future as the use of computers has become a crucial part of today’s society. Almost every job requires candidates to have at least basic computer knowledge. 

This is another short clip from YouTube about the use of computers and how it links to the real world for children. Computers in classrooms.

A child getting help as needed. 
When children are using the computer, timing is crucial; they need enough time to be able to experiment and explore (Haugland, 2000). In my practice when children are using the computer, they don’t have a time limit. This allows children to take time and learn rather than being rushed. Even though the children don’t have a time limit, they still share and take turns. I keep an eye on the children and intervene accordingly as children ask for my help. I keep an eye on the children so I am able to scaffold their learning and help them as they need it (MacNaughton & Williams, 2009).

As stated by Smorti (1999), technology is simply about helping people with problem solving. I have observed this among the children as using computers has enhanced and developed children’s problem solving skills as they learnt to help each other with the games as well as to discuss and negotiate turn taking. Hence it teaches children to solve problems together and develop their understanding of how technology can help them and others (Ministry of Education, 1996). 


Clark, B., & Grey, A. (2010). Āta Kitea Te Pae: Scanning the horizon.  North Shore, New Zealand: Pearson

Haugland, S. W. (2000). Computers and young children. ERIC Digest. Retrieved from 

MacNaughton, G., & Williams, G. (2009). Techniques for teaching young children: choices for theory and practice (3rd Ed.). N.S.W, Australia: Pearson Education Australia.

Ministry of Education. (1996). Te Whāriki: He Whāriki mātauranga mo nga mokopuna o Aotearoa. Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media.

Ministry of Education. (2007). The New Zealand curriculum. Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media Limited. 

Smori, S. (1999) Technology in Early Childhood. Early Education, 19, 5-10.

Tsantis, L., Bewick, C., & Thornton, S. (2003). Examining some common myths about computers in the early years. Young Children on the Web, November 2003, 1-9.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Learning with an iPad.

Children playing with the iPad together.
The children at our centre love 
playing with the iPad. Lately as the children were engaging in using the iPad I had been focusing on how it affects their behaviour and social development. The one thing that I noticed was that using the iPad was encouraging social and group play among children. When one child gets the iPad, his peers come and sit around him and start conversations with him about what his doing. 

When I first observed this, I thought the child with the iPad would get defensive and move away to play with the iPad alone. However I was completely wrong, the children would play together as a group and talk about what they should play and/or watch next on the iPad.

Children in our centres today have grown up in a world of technology which might be quiet different to how we grew up. When I was growing up there was no iPad’s or computers in classrooms except for the ICT room. Today children have the iPad available for use which enhances their learning and development. 

Children busy searching for things.
Having an iPad creates more opportunities for spontaneous learning as children can have the iPad in-front of them and search or look for things as the topic arises. If we make full use of computers and iPad’s in our centres, it can be used to enhance the teaching and learning process among children (Tsantis, Bewick & Thouvenelle, 2003). Using the iPad enables us, as teachers to create an environment where the children are able to experience stories and symbols of their culture (Ministry of Education, 1996). The culture that children are growing up in is made up of technology such as, iPad’s and phones.  Technology has a major impact on children’s live; it has become an essential part of children’s everyday life (Ministry of Education, 2007).  

Children learning via the games on the iPad.
I found it challenging at the start to implement the use of technology, in my teaching practice as I grew up being told that technology is not for the use of children. It took me a while to break out of this norm because that’s what I had grown up believing. Therefore in my personal life, I believed to keep the use of technology separate from children. However as I observed the children in my centre, I learnt that using technology with children benefits their learning.

In my centre we welcome the use of iPad’s as we are aware that digital technology is a crucial part of the children’s future. I believe, as teachers we need to step into the digital world of technology as it is a part of children’s everyday life and it will help us to understand and nurture children better. I learnt that using iPad’s and other technology as a learning tool, can promote just as much social interactions as dramatic play (Tsantis, Bewick & Thouvenelle, 2003).

Children socializing with peers through the use of iPads. 
For some children, technology is their medium of working together with their peers (Tsantis, Bewick & Thouvenelle, 2003). It can help children who might be shy, lacking confidence or have not yet developed social skills to make friends and/or work as part of a group. Using an iPad can give children the power and the confidence that they require in order to communicate and work alongside and with their peers. Using an iPad, enhanced the interactions between children as they were engaging in conversations regarding the games, programmes and the range of activities (apps) available through the iPad.
Musical app available on iPad
Educational games on the iPad.
A writing app on the iPad for children.

According to Te Whāriki, each community should adapt the curriculum to meet the demands of its learner’s (Ministry of Education, 1996). Doing this enables the children to respond to the evolution of technology as they are given opportunities in our centre’s to be able to partake in the use of iPad’s, computers and other technology (Ministry of Education, 1996; Ministry of Education, 2007).  


Ministry of Education. (1996). Te Whāriki: He Whāriki mātauranga mo nga mokopuna o Aotearoa. Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media.

Ministry of Education. (2007). The New Zealand curriculum. Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media Limited.

Tsantis, L., Bewick, C., & Thornton, S. (2003). Examining some common myths about computers in the early years. Young Children on the Web, November 2003, 1-9.