It is a world where children play and learn in a sandbox and with friends.
And in rural Australia, the sandbox is now a virtual playground.
The child care provider I work for runs a preschool in a remote area of north-east Queensland.
This remote area, known as ‘the desert’, has seen a significant rise in demand for preschool education in recent years, and is home to a number of remote childrens’ institutions.
For this reason, the school has decided to put its preschool online in a bid to offer children an online learning experience.
“In the future, the preschool will be a place where kids can come to learn and explore the world around them,” says Maryanne, a preschool teacher at the remote preschool.
“For us, it’s about learning about new cultures and cultures and about understanding the world in which we live.”
In the meantime, Maryanne says, there’s a lot of excitement around the online learning opportunities available to the preschoolers.
“We want to be able to connect the kids with other kids from the school so they can get in touch with other children who may have been there as well.”
The online learning offered by the remote kindergarten is a bit different to that offered by mainstream preschools.
“The kids are able to take turns on the computers and we’re providing an opportunity for them to share their knowledge,” says Martha, the principal of the remote childcare centre.
“And we’re also providing a place to connect with people and have a social network where kids from other schools can come and have lunch.”
“There are lots of different ways in which it’s being used, so it’s a great way to learn.”
But the main thing is to make sure that kids are getting the information and being able to use the information for their own learning.
“The remote kindergarten has been working with parents of preschoolers for more than 10 years to make the online experience as accessible as possible.”
They have been very supportive of us because we have a very remote location,” says Ms Maryanne.”
I think the preschools work really well together.
They have to know how to manage all these people so they know what to do when someone is at home, and what to ask the kids when they’re not at home.
“The preschoolers’ experiences of being online are varied, but the most common is that they have been able to access videos and quizzes to help them make up their own minds.”
A lot of the times, the kids don’t even have time to put their own stuff together,” says Katherine.”
It’s just a matter of the kids having their own ideas, and if it’s not as well written as they would like, then they can go and find the words online.
“Ms Maryanne adds that many parents are also finding it easier to learn about the internet through video games and the internet themselves.”
When we’re talking to parents and teachers, they really appreciate the fact that they can use the internet and see what’s going on around them and they can look up their child’s activities online,” she says.”
Sometimes parents find that their kids are having fun and it’s just not enough, they’re watching a video game or something on their phone and it just doesn’t quite get it.