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Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is increasingly becoming a ubiquitous component of the physical and social worlds occupied by young children.

This exposure to, and experience of, ICT needs to be reflected in the Early Years setting so children can continue to make sense of their everyday environment.

Of course, there are those who express the view that ICT use is inappropriate for young children's cognitive, physical, social and emotional development.

However, there is no clear evidence to support these claims and the wider view is that, when used appropriately, ICT can be a useful tool for supporting Early Years children's learning and development.

Studies suggest ICT use can provide a context for collaboration, cooperation, and positive learning experiences among children, or between children and adults.

However, this will not necessarily happen of its own accord.

Practitioners must be conscious of the kinds of learning interactions they would like to occur and, as well as providing children with the necessary resources to explore and extend their experiences, adopt pedagogical strategies to support these.

ICT resources - and we are not just talking about computers - are often highly motivating, inclusive and can not only be used in role play but integrated across the curriculum.

And, unlike some adults, young children are unafraid of technology and confident to try out new activities - from cameras to whiteboards, programmable toys to walkie-talkies.

Such resources can support a wide range of aspects of learning, including language skills and the development of mathematical thinking.

They provide a variety of ways for children to weave together words, pictures, and sounds, allowing them to communicate their ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

While embedding ICT into everyday practice can underpin each area of the EYFS, practitioners need to be mindful of health and safety issues associated with children's use of ICT.

These need to be incorporated into policies and procedures - including paying attention to children's physical and ergonomic safety, being aware of potential exposure to inappropriate content or undesirable gender or cultural stereotypes and protecting privacy.

In addition, successful ICT in Early Years not only depends on staff being creative and imaginative but being confident and capable of using ICT and interacting with children to share their knowledge and skills.

It goes without saying, ICT will be a significant presence in children’s lives throughout their schooling and into adulthood.

In order to be full and capable participants in this high-tech world, it is important children begin to develop 'technological literacy' at an early age.

  • If you want to learn more about the use of ICT in the development and learning of young children then our Level 3 Award in ICT in Early Years, is for you. The qualification provides the knowledge and skills to be able to integrate the use of ICT in an Early Years setting.