I quite agree with the Montessori viewpoint that children under six do not need to learn how to use computers but I understand that the EYFS says that children must have access to computers. My child’s Montessori nursery refuses to have computers in the classroom for children of this age. Are they in contravention of government rules?
The EYFS states that children should ‘find out about and learn how to use appropriate information technology such as computers and programmable toys that support their learning.’ This has been misinterpreted to mean that it is compulsory to have computers in the classroom at this age. However, this is a myth. In fact, as the DCSF document, ‘EYFS - Everything you need to know’ says ‘There is no requirement in the EYFS to use computers or any specific form of technology.
The EYFS says that most children should have the chance to play and find out about the everyday technology through their natural curiosity. This might be through exploring how a light switch works, for example, but ultimately it is up to those who are actually working directly with the children, which activities they choose to encourage and which toys or facilities they provide.’ It is also important to understand that, contrary to current understanding, the EYFS is not compulsory.
Recently Steiner schools have won the right to opt out because it clashes with their philosophy. One of their many objections was that they do not believe that we should introduce ‘electronic gadgetry’ to children before they are seven. This decision undoubtedly opens up the possibility for any school who believes that a set of goals for children of this age is inappropriate because they develop at different rates to opt out.