Family Day Care Home Provider
32 Myrtle Street
Orono, ME 04473 USA
v: (207) 866-2386
Other: Early Childhood Education
Innovative or improved ways of doing things; Creation of new ideas, products, or services
Supporting Documentation (contact author for more information):
Other: Copy of book children created: THE MAINE TOUR. Includes color drawings.
A Family Day Care Home Internet Story
The Expanding World of Early Childhood
or… The Flowering of a Day Care’s Internet Experience
The children of Morningtown Childcare are WORLD TRAVELLERS. Reading picture storybooks tied to a specific geographic location, and using map and globe, the children have become familiar with the concepts of world and cultural diversity.
Discovering Internet suggested new possibilities – maybe we could connect with children from other countries, correspond, then exchange favorite picture storybooks through the mail. With technical assistance from staff and students at the University of Maine, and offers to help with book translations, we took the leap, and began telecommunicating.
We now have children in Russia and Iceland wishing to exchange books. We talked about what favorite Maine stories we would like to send. And, to give children in other parts of the world a sense of Maine, the children created a book about Maine sharing information that was important to them about their home.
All children, aged 3-9 years contributed to the final product, The Maine Tour. We created a list of topics important to the children, then each child picked a topic to illustrate and describe.The printing department at the University of Maine helped us publish our book,so we could have multiple copies for our new computer friends. To better understand the process, we took a field trip to the print shop, so children could observe the steps taken in the creation of the final book product.
Telecommunication has given the concept of world an immediacy that was not there before. Letters from other children make places seem real, because children we know live there. The day care children understand there is a computer system in place that can be used to search for information, and THEY suggest using it to solve certain problems.
While this is a rather linear version of the expanding world of early childhood, through the exchange of letters, books and information between the young children in my day care, and children from other parts of the world, the beauty of telecommunication seems to be that it is not really a linear process. Speed and opportunities to exchange information offer a totally different type of pathway, more like a flowering vine.
For, from the “seed” of an idea (exchanging picture books), grew the “roots” (involvement with international listservs) which sent out shoots and blossoms that are still continuing to sprout.
>From one branch grows a new project, already begun. Each of our computer friends in different parts of the world will write a piece of a story, and when it is completed, all will enjoy, and be challenged to guess which group wrote which section!
>From another branch grew an “on-line” interview, as a French journalist questioned a 5 year old at the the day care about our project. An ongoing “keypal” exchange offers wonderful scenes from France.
An exciting third branch led to the discovery of new Early Childhood Listservs. Early Childhood Education On Line and Early Childhood Education Net offer opportunities for exchange with dedicated Early Childhood professionals.
And so, instead of coming to the end of our story, we are at the beginning. With the potential that telecommunication offers to help the field of Early Childhood provide exciting educational experiences, and exchange information geared toward giving young children the best care we can, I hope, from this flowering vine, we can grow an enormous Beanstalk! (But that, of course, is another story!)