Computing before they can read

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 20, 2004

No child is too young to begin working on the computer.

That’s definitely the philosophy at Meadowview Christian School, where pre-K 3- and 4-year-olds spend 20 minutes each day in a school computer lab.

To observe the children, eyes locked on the color-filled screen, hands easily moving the mouse, one realizes how thoroughly the computer has become a part of our culture and how significant it is as a tool in every area of life, and increasingly so.

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The 3-year-olds observed last Wednesday were absolutely engrossed in the educational games that they were playing.

Their lab instructor, Lorri Lippeatt, said that the children go through three levels with each game, and when they have completed the game they move to another one – at their own pace. The games are produced by Knowledge Adventures and include Jump Start and Reader Rabbit.

At this stage, she said, they learn how to start and to end the game and to do simple tasks with the mouse. The games themselves typically involve letters, numbers and shapes, and augment what is being taught in the classroom.

Their teacher, Stephanie Piper,

added, &uot;They also learn eye and hand coordination.&uot;

Piper also said that her 3-year-olds see the computer lab as fun, and can hardly wait to go each day. &uot;They don’t even know they’re learning,&uot; she said.3977 Ivy Shadrick