Our schools are incredibly underfunded in North Carolina, and pre-Kindergarten is generally one of the more forgotten populations. Pre-Kindergarten is usually at the bottom of the list when money is available.
I teach pre-Kindergarten in a low-income elementary school in North Carolina.
My school serves children from pre-K to 5th grade. One hundred percent of our children receive free lunch. The students in my class were selected for our program because they are severely at-risk. My students come from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and economic situations.
Although many of them have faced incredible adversity in their short four years, they come to school every day smiling, excited, and ready to learn. They are truly the best and sweetest group of children and bring such joy to each and every day.
In my pre-Kindergarten classroom, we used to have two very old, limited-access desktop PCs. Over the summer, the computers stopped functioning properly. The age of the computers made putting in a repair work order out of the question. This year, we were very lucky that our school happened to have two iPads left over because we lost a couple of sections of different grade levels. We have been able to use these iPads to compliment the learning already going on in my classroom.
My students LOVE playing on learning applications like Starfall, ABCMouse, Teach Your Monster to Read, and Letterland, just to name a few.
Through the work they've done already this year, more than HALF of my students already know their upper and lowercase letters! I can easily attribute this spike in learning to my students being able to work on literacy skills at their own pace and at their own levels!
Next year, we may not be as lucky because class sizes often fluctuate and sections may be added back to the upper grade levels. If that is the case, my children will lose the only bit of technology we have in our room!
By acquiring an iPad that is OURS, not one provided by the school and therefore not in danger of being reassigned to another classroom, we will be able to keep my tiny "techies" excited, engaged, and LEARNING!
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