Jetson age technology zoomed to Schaumburg Park District preschool.
The District's 4-year-old classrooms are now equipped with interactive smart boards from HATCH, a company specializing in early childhood classroom technology. The boards respond to touch and emit sound during the use of educational computer programs.
The interactive programs feature matching, shapes, patterns, letter recognition and sounds, time, numbers, writing, drawing, stories, mathematical skills and phonics.
"It's an awesome tool," said Kathy Moulds, early childhood supervisor for the District. "We are really jumping into the modern teaching atmosphere this year."
The boards, powered by a computer accessing the Internet, allow teachers to visit different educational websites for learning programs, explore the world using Google Earth and do classroom fitness exercises during preschool age YouTube videos.
Moulds assures that the technology based method will not replace existing learning tools.
"Teachers will still read books and children will still hold pencils," Moulds said. "We are hoping to reach children in new ways using modern technology, especially those who learn differently and are more visual learners."
Moulds sees the boards as a new way to monitor progress, engage children, impact teachable moments in real time using the Internet and make learning more interactive.
The boards also give teachers the ability to create a portfolio for each child and track development skills like handwriting and drawing over the school year.
Development tracking will begin with the preschool's 3-year-olds who will use the boards at various times during the year.
And the new technology isn't ending with the smart boards.
Tablets will be introduced to students in January. Teachers will have the ability to track literacy and learning progress, give access to curriculum based apps and add to student portfolios.
"We want our preschoolers to be prepared for kindergarten and a lifetime of learning in our technologically advanced world," Moulds said.
The District's preschool program, accredited by the National Academy for the Education of Young Children, is located at Meineke Recreation Center, 220 E. Weathersfield Way; Pat Shephard Center, 421 N. Springinsguth Road; and Bock Neighborhood Center, 1223 W. Sharon Lane.
For more information, call (847) 490-7036 or visit www.parkfun.com.