Technology and children

We are told in the Early Years Learning Framework that technology should be incorporated into our programs. “Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place, technologies and natural and processed materials” in Learning outcome 4. “Children use information and communication technologies to access information, investigate ideas and represent their thinking” in Learning Outcome 5. A lot of us see the word technology and think of what we, as adults, engage with every day such as laptops, computers, tablets, TVs, phones etc.

Why then do we keep getting told that technology use for young children is developmentally inappropriate with facts such as these…

The reason is because technology is not just digital technology. If you look at the glossary in the EYLF under Technology you find “Technologies: includes much more than computers and digital technologies used for information, communication and entertainment. Technologies are the diverse range of products that make up the designed world. These products extend beyond artefacts designed and developed by people and include processes, systems, services and environments.” 

Therefore technology use can be explored in so many different ways. Role playing with technology systems is a great way to support children to understand how technology works. Examples could be:

  • kitchens (ovens, microwaves, fridge, freezer)
  • doctors (xray, stethoscope, medicine, thermometer)
  • office (keyboards, old phones, old laptops)
  • explorers (magnifying glasses, old cameras, metal detectors)
  • shopping (scanners, trolleys, baskets, barcodes on old boxes)Little Tikes Home Corner Shopping Set

Play images from Modern Teaching Aids

All of these can provide the opportunity for children to explore technology and their understanding of how technology works in a play based medium. This will support language development, social skills, problem solving, a sense of agency, and learning about systems in their world which help the children feel more connected to their world.

Not only are these activities play based but they also allow the child to take the lead and develop skills that are age appropriate without doing physical harm to the child’s development. Most children have such steady access to digital technology outside of care that should be supported to embrace technology in other ways while in care. In the same way that if a child had a poor diet at home we would support them by providing a nutrient rich diet while they are in care.

Another way to include technology into play is for children to be given access to old technology and explore it by being provided with tools and the time and permission to take it apart. This allows children to explore, create, discuss, problem solve, develop fine motor strength, become familiar with tools, come up with hypothesise on how the technology works, develop resilience, persist with a task, attend to a task for an extended period, and so many more skills.

If using digital technology with children they should be limited to the amount during the day, and also have opportunities to make the activity a social one through shared use, and intentional teaching such as asking questions.

Hopefully this article has provided some opportunities to support children’s engagement with technology in your service, and reflect on what your definition of technology is. It is often helpful to look at the educators reliance on technology during the day too. How often are adults on phones, tablets, computers or attached to a digital camera instead of having meaningful interactions with the children, because we are role models and should always think of whether what we say to children matches what we do.

If you would like to subscribe to my monthly newsletter for tips, ideas and upcoming events subscribe here




Reflective practice

facebook post

I posted this onto my facebook page this morning as I saw it as a good starting point to talk about seeing the value in each child’s work and not just as wasted paper, especially when children are just starting out and going through the process of learning how to hold a pencil, how to draw, how to control their muscles, how to plan what they would like to put onto the paper, and how to replicate shapes and patterns.

It has started a few comments about cutting up children’s work, which is not at all the angle I was meaning to take with this post, however that it the beauty of reflective practice. It is about working together with others to share ideas, gain feedback, express opinions and learn from each other. To be open to the opportunities that come our way and be willing to gain something from each opportunity.

So what started as a post about valuing each child’s efforts has become an opportunity for reflective practice.


For some it might be that educators reflect on their own practices and thoughts around “scribbles” and how they value these in their service. For others it might be about understanding other’s views and being willing to allow these to be discussed openly. For me it has been about expressing myself more clearly.

The freedom of the EYLF means that there is no right or wrong way of implementing it, and everyone out there in their own service is on their own journey with how their practices embrace and reflect what research has shown us is best for the children. This is important for us to acknowledge when it comes to reflective practice, because we might be further along the journey than others, or have taken a side path to focus on a different area that requires more focus or is of particular interest.


To those who are further ahead in your journey, using my post as an example, then cutting up children’s work is not supportive or respectful of the child’s efforts. You could even say writing on a child’s work without their permission is disrespectful. However for those just starting to explore children’s voices and efforts, moving from throwing the work into the bin to making something out of it is a good starting point.

Every day we are faced with suggestions, comments, documents, or instructions that challenge us and our own ideas and thoughts on different subjects. Through open, unbiased, unemotional dialogue it allows us all to reflect and grow. That growth could be learning a new skill, understanding another person’s perspective, developing our negotiation skills, or learning more about ourselves as an educator. The true value then comes from implementing the lesson so you continue to grow and develop as a person, an educator, a team, and as a community of learners.


I would love to hear ways you incorporate reflective practice into your services, or even into your own personal journeys.

If you would like to know more about reflective practice please check out my webinar on May 24th. Click here for more information. 

Behaviour Guidance – An educator focused approach

When talking about behavioural issues in childcare I hear lots of focus about the negatives of it all from educators who are worn down and discouraged. How frustrating children with challenging behaviours are for the educators. How it isn’t fair that the educators have to put up with these challenging, sometimes aggressive behaviours. How the other children shouldn’t have to put up with this. How the parents should be doing more. How the educators didn’t sign up for this.

I would like to start by acknowledging that I too have worked with children with challenging behaviours in my 15 years experience, and I am not saying that there aren’t days that are harder than others. I would like to focus on the educators though and respond to some of these negatives that I hear and try and turn the mentality around to a more useful conversation…

A positive attitude will lead to positive outcomes.

“How frustrating children with challenging behaviours are for the educators” – If you think the behaviours are frustrating for you, imagine how the child feels. Their body is being overwhelmed by emotions they don’t know how to process nor do they understand. Our role as educators is to support the child and help them understand what is going on with them, and provide them with tools that they can use to better manage situations. We must also focus on the positives of every child, especially those children who are constantly hearing “no” and “stop” and “don’t”. We must congratulate the good, celebrate their efforts, throw a party every time an alternative response is explored successfully.

One of many very powerful truths! And so many teachers do not understand this. :(:

“How it isn’t fair that the educators have to put up with these challenging, sometimes aggressive behaviours” – The role of the educator is to connect with all children, and some children take a bit longer to connect with, and need a different approach, but it is definitely worth making those connections. Once a child feels supported and has a trusting relationship with at least one educator, they are likely to feel more secure and have less extreme behaviours. This is because the educator can notice the signs and triggers earlier and step in to help support the child before the behaviour escalates. The other benefit of developing a strong relationship with children with challenging behaviours is that they have a safe space to feel their emotions, and may even come to an educator to seek support from an educator when they feel a trigger occur.

It seems counterintuitive. It can be very difficult at times. It's easy to say "Fine, I'm done," and walk away. But our relationships with our kids are what provide the foundation on which we stand to lead, teach, and guide them. It's always the starting point to making any change.:

“How the other children shouldn’t have to put up with this” – Our role as an educator is to support all children engage with the program. Children with challenging behaviours should be supervised more closely to limit the likelihood of their negative responses to situations, impacting the other children. It is also a key learning opportunity for all children to discuss more appropriate ways to negotiate or work through what is happening in a way that supports each child’s needs. Often we immediately remove the child with the behavioural issues, instead of understanding what happened and exploring whether another child triggered the behaviour through their own actions. We are here to support children develop social skills and not being present to witness and respond to these instances, and just assuming the child with the most aggressive response needs to be removed, is reinforcing inappropriate behaviours in others, not developing suitable skills and tools.

Not usually too keen on using the Minions to illustrate random quotes but I do like this one, Nell:

“How the parents should be doing more” – To this I have two different approaches. The first is that perhaps the parents are not equipped to do better and the child being in care is the best place for the child to be. It is then the role of the educator to fill in the gaps and support the child with as many tools to help them process their thoughts and feelings as possible. The second approach is to apply empathy, if the educator was living in the shoes of the parent for 24 hours how would they cope? It is all well and good to judge from outside, but put yourself in their shoes, and provide support, empathy and positivity wherever possible. In both instances parents need support, not judgement. Parents do not want to come in every day to hear about their child’s behaviours they are fully aware of. They want to hear about the positives, what they did well today, the things you threw a party for. Focus on those behaviours.

But having to remember some people were just raised differently, really? You wanna get that started. I think we know each other's parents pretty damn well.:

“How the educators didn’t sign up for this” – Most educators got into early childhood education and care to make a difference in a child’s life and help support them in their development. You can’t pick and choose which children you want to make a difference to. It is most rewarding to make a difference to those children who need more help, and you can change the trajectory of their whole lives. Reflect on what it is you signed in for and how best you can implement this.

Great article about patient parenting while dealing with aggression in children:

It is the role of the educator to support the children, families and their colleagues. We often try to place blame instead of working together as a team to meet the needs of the child. We all have the ability to shift our mindset and for this to work, it needs to be a service level decision so everyone is on the same page and can motivate each other, instead of feeding off each other’s negative energy.

I have been asked whether I will do a behaviour guidance webinar, and I am reluctant to, because I believe this is something that needs to be targeted one service at a time, where specific behaviours and specific viewpoints can be put on the table and discussed openly with a consensus being agreed upon on how to move forwards. For this reason I would rather work with services and help meet their needs, than do a generic webinar that wont allow for the specifics to be discussed and may leave participants with more questions than answers.

If you would like service specific help with behavioural issues you are experiencing in your service, and the educator’s mindset around these issues, please feel free to get in touch with me at I would love to help support you with this, either through doing in-house training, or through a skype style meeting with your team, depending on where you are located.

This post is available for free download from as a PDF

If you would like to subscribe to my monthly newsletter for tips, ideas and upcoming events subscribe here