Tic Toc Nursery Invests in Technology-Savvy Pre-Schoolers

A bit of background 

Tic Toc Nursery is an independent family-run business based in Coventry that was founded in 2002. Tic Toc 2 is the nursery’s setting for pre-school children, which is eligible for two, three, and four-year funding. Tic Toc 2 has two play areas, and by the age of 3 ½ children are encouraged to play independently, readying them for school.

Key considerations

As a pre-school learning environment, the focus is very much on play and encouraging children to learn to play independent of the nursery staff, while they are always on hand to support and nurture. The role of the nursery staff is to prepare children for the transition to Primary School by offering a more structured approach to learning, however the Nursery felt they were lacking in the area of new technologies for the children to use while at nursery.

Previously, the children had access to desktop computers but the staff were finding this tech-savvy generation were trying to swipe the screens, as so many have access to touchscreen technology at home. With this in mind, Tic Toc decided to upgrade its IT facilities in-line with more modern technologies and opted to install five 65” Promethean ActivPanels in the pre-school rooms, for ages 2+.

Led by Claire Spencer, Director at Tic Toc Nursery, enhancing the children’s learning while in a nursery setting in order to prepare them for Primary School was at the heart of the decision to invest in the screens.

Having achieved outstanding from Ofsted for both settings, Tic Toc Nursery prides itself at working alongside parents who are very involved. “We recognise that parents of young children are often the primary educators so their feedback on the ActivPanels was important to us. We’re pleased that it has all been really positive, the parents love the screens and can see the benefits of their children having access to them. As many of the children use their parents’ smartphones and tablets at home they are accustomed to touchscreen technology anyway. Parents also like that their children are attending a forward-thinking setting that prepares pre-schoolers for Primary School and beyond,” said Claire.

Why the ActivPanel?

The ActivPanel was chosen because of the features it has available, the nursery wanted to have touchscreen technology but on a larger screen so that the children could work collaboratively when learning about counting and colours etc. They were also keen to have something that meant that the whole room could get involved with learning altogether – and to bring their love of singing nursery rhymes to life a bit more.

“While the staff are using the ActivPanels to support a more structured approach to learning, the children are encouraged to use them for free play. The drawing tool is proving to be a big hit with them all, which is great because while they are having fun, they are actually developing their fine motor skills and mark making, which are important foundations to help them learn to write.”

Claire continued, “building on their social skills also comes into play as the children are learning to take turns or work collaboratively as a team when problem-solving, the screens really do aid their learning in a positive way.”

In each of the five rooms which have them, the ActivPanels are kept on motorised stands, “this is something we really researched. It was important that the pre-school children could access the touchscreens at their own level, this way the screens are being used to their full potential however, it’s also useful to store them out of reach when they’re not in use!” said Claire.

When the children aren’t refining their drawing skills on the screen, pre-school apps that focus on counting, colours and nursery rhymes are often used to encourage learning through play. The teaching staff even play nursery rhymes or soft music through the screens during the children’s nap time to help them to settle and ensure they are having some downtime.

In order to use the screens confidently, the staff all received initial training following the set-up, and have had a couple of follow-up sessions since, with another booked for later in the year. Claire concluded, “we really like this approach as it means the staff can get to grips with practising using the screens and then ask any questions they might have in the next training session, or we even have the option to ask our point of contact directly if it’s something that can’t wait.”