Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why not computer programs?

I've explained HIPPY to random strangers on planes, elevators and grocery stores; as well as decision makers in schools, legislatures and the media. My "elevator speech" goes something like this: "We provide 30 weeks of home visits to parents of 3, 4, and 5 year olds, using a weekly curriculum that the parent works on with his/her child. This prepares the child for school and helps parents understand the importance of their role as their child's first teacher."  Most of the time people get it, they have their own childhood experiences to draw from, or their experience as a parent with their own children -- reading to them daily and later helping them with homework. As technology takes such a front seat in our society, education and parenting practices, more and more people have asked me "Couldn't you get a computer program for the kids to work on?", it always shocks me a little but I try to stay calm! NO! I want to exclaim. No video, computer game or video game will ever take the place of a parent playing with or reading to his or her child! I know that our kids need to learn how to use computers, and they will!!! Many of our parents have and use their own computers and internet, but nothing can replace that one on one interaction - that's the best way a love of learning and reading will be developed and handed down from one generation to the next. I saw an interesting website by an advocacy group trying to reduce the effects of corporate marketing on our children. I found it interesting because it relates to the fact that children spend more time in front of the TV and computer than ever before, and often this means less time with their parents. This makes that one on one time reading together, playing, singing, talking that much more precious and important!

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