Inclusion and school transition supported with technology at Platinum Preschool
Jo O’Brien, founder of New South Wales based Platinum Preschool, knew from the start of her approved provider journey fourteen years ago that a central tenet of her service philosophy would be to ensure that children enrolled in her service transitioned to school as smoothly as possible.
“After 15 years teaching in a primary school setting I entered the early childhood space with a very good understanding of what school readiness really looked like, and some of the gaps that presented again and again in the children in my classroom,” Ms O’Brien said.
“As a preschool we take our responsibility to ensure that children in our care are as ready as they can be for the transition to school seriously, and that requires dedicating a portion of our program to leveraging technology in the best interests of the children.”
In light of this, when the physical spaces of Platinum Preschool were designed special attention was paid to ensure that each classroom had sufficient space to accommodate certain technologies such as interactive display systems.
“Our partners at BenQ have been incredibly supportive over the years and their equipment is a permanent fixture across our service to the delight of children, educators and families,” Ms O’Brien shared.
School readiness is more than just developmental, it is physical too
Preparing children for primary school is central to the Platinum Preschool experience, and with technology playing an ever larger role throughout the school system, the importance of introducing the children to technology in a safe and measured environment prior to school becomes increasingly important.
“We have worked hard to create a pedagogical culture that includes the use of contemporary technologies to deliver our programs,” Ms O’Brien said.
“Our educators are high quality, energetic, innovative, curious and kind – the perfect combination to be able to craft balanced and holistic programs that combine play based learning with, when appropriate, technology informed practice,” she added.
Children are regularly treated to interactive display sessions encouraging visual literacy development on their BenQ boards.
Sessions that captivate them and engage them but perhaps most importantly, sessions which create a sense of understanding that serves them well when they graduate to ‘big school.’
Flexibility of interactive display content modules allows for huge range of needs
Another key point of difference is that interactive display boards provide Ms O’Brien and her team with the ability to access a huge range of mostly free content to meet the needs of a specific activity or extension in the classroom.
“We know that the developmental rates and milestones for children are really varied but we have found that it is possible to calibrate content to allow for this diversity and support group learning as well,” Ms O’Brien said.
An important component of evaluating an activity’s appropriateness and selecting the right content to act as a provocation or guide on the interactive displays is the skill of the educators within the service itself.
Platinum Preschool has long had a policy of comprehensive professional development that ensures that all educators have the skills, and confidence to effectively incorporate ‘display time’ into their daily programs.
“I think from my perspective we are really delivering on our promise to families to ensure that their children are ready for school and receiving the very best education and care too,” she added, “but there is more to these boards than school transition as we have learnt in recent months.”
Adoption of technology supports adaptive learning and fulfills inclusive practice needs
With the recent enrolment of a non-verbal child, who lives with cerebral palsy, the capacity of the BenQ display boards to support communication took on a new dimension.
Using adaptive communication tools embedded into his iPad, the child who was new to the classroom was able to connect with the other children in real time through having the display and his iPad connect.
Being able to communicate directly with his classmates, and access all of the learning experiences on offer in an inclusive way has made a real difference to his sense of belonging, Ms O’Brien explained.
“Inclusion, and the importance of embracing and celebrating diversity through our curriculum and practice is core to our philosophy at Platinum Preschool,” she said.
The ability of BenQ’s display boards to offer a range of different use cases is a striking aspect of the technology and part of the reason why they have emerged as leaders in educational settings.
“Overall BenQ’s display boards have been a crucial part of our mission at Platinum Preschool. I cannot envisage being able to do what we do without them and are very grateful for the support we have received from them over the years,” she added.
To learn more about BenQ’s interactive display panels, and how they can transform your early childhood learning environments, please visit the website.
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