Nate logs in to learning curve at distance ed kindy

EXCITED: Nate, 3, is raring to go for his first year of eKindy right from the comfort of his own home.
EXCITED: Nate, 3, is raring to go for his first year of eKindy right from the comfort of his own home. Paul Braven

LITTLE Nate Peart's headset may be almost as big as his head but he's taking on new technology so he can do kindergarten like other kids his age.

The three-year-old from Darts Creek is the only enrolment from the Gladstone region for "eKindy" in 2015.

eKindy is as technologically advanced as it sounds.

It's a program run by Brisbane Distance School of Education for kindergarten-aged children who live in rural and remote areas.

Funded by the Queensland Government, eKindy students are able to learn and play using a laptop, headset and webcam from their own home.

Nate's family lives on a property 40 minutes from Gladstone - his mum, Shannon Peart, says it's a brilliant idea.

"We are a 50-60km drive from Gladstone kindergartens (so) the main reason we decided to do it was the travel," she said.

"I am really excited. I was a teacher for 10 years teaching from Prep to Year 7.

"I have always wanted to do distance education."

Nate will do 20-minute web sessions where a qualified teacher from Rockhampton will instruct him.

Further down the track he will use an interactive whiteboard where he can write and draw with his teacher.

Nate will be involved with music, games, construction, art, sand play and storytelling.

"Morning tea, lunch and the rest of the day is all structured. It will get him into a routine for prep," Mrs Peart said.

Nate will start his eKindy journey next week.

What is eKindy?

  • eKindy officially started in 2013
  • Six students were enrolled in the Gladstone region in 2014
  • 60 children are enrolled in the Capricornia region in 2015
  • 220 children are enrolled in Queensland in 2015
  • There are 16 teachers across the state
  • Children must be living more than 16km from their nearest centre to be eligible.

Kindy kids are tech-savvy

KINDERGARTEN-AGED children are more technologically competent than 45-year-olds, according to a recently released Communications Market Report.

Children aged 3-6 are eclipsing their parents and grandparents in understanding communications technology, spending almost triple the time on technological devices.

These children will never know a world without Facebook, fast internet, unlimited downloads and constant availability.

Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom, says the time spent using communication devices is also now surpassing the time spent sleeping.

"The convenience and simplicity of smartphones and tablets are helping us cram more activities into our daily lives," he said.

Topics:  distance education education gladstone kindergarten

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