The importance of introducing keyboard typing to children at an early age

There is a general consensus among researchers and experts that the appropriate age to start formal keyboard training ranges between seven to ten years of age. The biggest consideration in holding back formal training until a certain age is because younger children may not have the necessary hand-eye motor coordination skills and physical capability to effectively start any earlier. However, early childcare experts and practioners now believe that there is no reason why parents and educators should not start introducing concepts of keyboard typing and word formation earlier.

In a radio discussion on keyboard typing for children, Jacqui Murray, a technology teacher for K-8 observes that kindergarten kids do display interest and want to get on the computer. When that happens, it’s a good time to teach them to be comfortable with the keyboard, mouse and basic internet skills. Even in research there is no strict starting age. Experts like Bartholome claim that although third grade (8-9 years old) was the most appropriate age to start formal training, they have found kids in first and second grade (5-7 years) could also learn keyboarding if they were taught and instructed a few times a week.

The question is… how do parents and educators better lean on technology to support the learning and curiosity displayed in their young children? What are the new building blocks of learning which will help our preschool kids understand the world better? Digital media and personal computing (mobile and desktop) will continue to become more important for education, both in and out of the classroom. There are now coding academies in Singapore catering to children as young as four years and there’s even a start-up called Kano selling DIY “build your own” computer kits suitable for six years of age.

Finding that balance between technology and real world learning is key. Keyboard typing is a future skill and necessary means to a larger education purpose. It will be a critical component of future learning activities and will support creative expression, knowledge exploration (search) and effective communication. This is why it’s important to start kids early but through age appropriate and progressive introductory activities.

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