In a before and after school
care setting, the computer area is usually arranged by the hosting organization,
whether it be a school, church or other community organization. Care
staff may have little involvement in deciding this issue. But there
are several things to consider when viewing the set up for the first
- Is the equipment located
in an area convenient for student access, and for continued monitoring
of all students by care staff?
- Is the equipment placed
out of the line of traffic?
- Are the computers, printer,
and other equipment within easy reach so that children can get to
them on their own without requiring adult assistance?
- Is the equipment situated
where there is sufficient light but away from windows and other
sources of glare?
- Is it placed away from
art activities, sand and water, or cooking activities? Food, water,
and paint can be harmful to the equipment.
- Are two or three chairs
placed around each computer?
- Can children concentrate
and work together without distracting others?
- Are electrical outlets
available to support the equipment?
- Are wires and outlets
out of the way? Placing computers against a wall or partition prevents
children from tripping over wires or fiddling with electrical outlets.
Remember, how the computer
area is set up has a great impact on children's successful learning
experiences. Because you are in a unique situation, you may notice
things that the regular teaching staff may has overlooked. Feel free
to make suggestions or offer solutions.
If you program is housed
in a space shared with other uses, be considerate of the facility.
Leave the space and the equipment in the same condition as they were,
and follow building procedures for starting, using, and shutting down
Space for Students to Work Together
One of the greatest advantages
of using computers and other technology is that it encourages communication
and provides language opportunities. Almost without exception, students
should be encouraged to work at the computer with others. Support
this by having two or three chairs at each computer to encourage communication
and enhance social skills. Children can easily share ideas, discuss
what is going on, and help each other.