I was checking out the Montessori Goldmine and saw this post. I to got the emails from Montessorium. I am against young children using computers. My father has an IT software company and we grew up with the latest computers and programs. I saw what it did to my younger brothers and our generation as we grew up addicted to looking at a screen and pushing buttons. I decided to keep Little-N away from it as much as possible.
If he needs to play a game, we play a board game, if he needs to write a letter he writes it by hand, if he needs to draw a picture he does it on paper and if he needs to research something he uses books, loads of books and he always get the information he needs. What would a computer or I-Pad offer him? I ask my self, what is missing from his life that a computer will give him. Now that he is 6 and I have kept him away for digital media, it is safe to say he has learnt to use all the real materials. No just use them, but enjoy them and they have become a part of him.
Even though I have kept him away from computers, he has surprised me by already knowing how to use a computer. He can switch it on, open a google and search for something. He can type if he talks to his dad. and he knows what everything is and for. He learnt that through observation as he sees me use my computer.
A Montessori teacher that I studied under [an 80yr old, who studied with a direct student of Montessori] often spoke about how she believed Montessori would be against the use of computers in the classroom. She said that when you weigh it up, it causes more harm that any good to a child especially when the child is young.
I can easily say that each child I taught who had problems in concentrating or learning watched to much TV or computer games. As soon as the parent agreed to cut down the TV and computer to only weekends the child changed. This doesn't mean that every child if badly effected, but it does effect them in some way or another.
For now Little-N wont be using a computer and TV is very limited. When he is older, probably 10 or more I will begin teaching him the use of a computer. Starting with the use of the Office applications and followed by using graphics programs. Until then, I am prepared to keep his environment rich enough to provide him with the correct materials he needs to learn and be happy.