The Berenstain Bears and Technology?


Green Apple Bookstore in San Francisco is one of my favorite bookstores in San Francisco.  Bookstores have always been an oasis for me.  Roaming the shelves and thinking about all the knowledge waiting to be discovered, I get all giddy inside.

Nerdy? Yes. 

My wife, son and I browsed the children’s section and I saw Berenstain Bears books.  I have fond memories of the Berenstain Bears. I enjoyed reading about the flare ups between the brother and sister.  I enjoyed reading about the messy room.  And I really liked their house.

But the book in my hand was not around during my childhood.  It was about technology and Internet safety rules.  I was surprised that Berenstain Bears books were still around and kicking, but more amazed that they were aware of the issues and challenges of our times.

When we left Green Apple, I thought about the book.  Technology is a hot topic in early childhood.  But what does it mean when a historically popular book series – Berenstain Bears has been around 50 years – produces a book like this; in essence, choosing to accept that technology is here and children need to know how to use it?

Moral of the Story: Preschool teachers should up their technology literacy.

Technology is battle front between preschool professionals.  There are those who believe that technology stunts social-emotional development or widdles away children’s impulse control.  If children are stuck behind a screen, then children won’t go outside and experience nature.

This is true, but these highlight developmentally inappropriate ways to use technology, such as there are wrong ways to use blocks, handle books, or use outdoor toys.

There are organizations and entities – such as the Berenstain Bears – that have been around for decades and are adjusting to the world our children will inherit.  Just look at Reading Rainbow and their recent attempts to revolutionize their efforts to promote literacy.  Or even NAEYC’s statement on how technology literacy and the important role preschool professionals play.

So why aren’t preschool teachers doing the same thing for technology?

Is it because we believe technology is only good for stunting children’s growth?

Is it because their’s no developmentally appropriate way to use technology in an early childhood classroom?

Is it because preschool educator’s don’t know how to use technology in developmentally appropriate ways?

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Despite the debate for technology in early childhood classroom, the importance for technology literacy is not.  Future jobs and careers will require our students to have a foundational knowledge technology: smartphones, computers, and whatever other technologies produced in the future.  We don’t know what the world will look like in five, ten, or twenty years; but we do know technology will play an important part.

The Berenstain Bears understand.

Reading Rainbow understands.

NAEYC understands.

Preschool teachers.. … work in progress.

P.S. If you would like to have this book yourself, check it out here.


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