These days, the Internet is our greatest resource for just about everything: education, entertainment, shopping and, of course, communicating. As adults we can filter out what we deem inappropriate, dangerous or unsavory. But children have no such filters and need constant guidance when sailing through cyberspace. If you’re a parent of young children, concerned about Internet safety, yet want to use its resources in a positive way, ABCmouse could be for you. The site is educationally sound, a place children can spend time and learn without the dangers of pop-up ads or external links leading them astray.
The site caters to pre-school through kindergarten age children. The scope of its content and the great wealth of activities it offers is impressive. 350 lessons are covered within six academic levels. As the child completes each lesson, he is guided to the next, motivated by a ticket and reward system.
The first thing that struck me about the site was how busy it is. Although it is a colorful, welcoming place that teaches as it entertains, it would not be easy for a child to navigate through it on his or her own. At least not initially. That said, parent and child could have a wonderful time exploring it together until the child feels comfortable enough to venture through it without constant supervision.
There are lessons and activities in Reading, Math, The World Around Us, and Art and Colors. Books and coloring sheets are available to print, a feature which offers the child even more of a hands on experience. There are songs to learn, as well as the option to create an avatar resembling the child. The site keeps track of everything the child does and progress reports are accessible with a click of the mouse. In the parents area you can read about the educational methods behind each lesson.
The curriculum has been designed in close collaboration with nationally recognized early childhood education experts. Teachers, children’s book publishers, and a Peabody award winning children’s documentary producer have all had a hand in creating ABCmouse.
If you’re interested, click here to get to the ABCmouse homepage. There you’ll find details covering every aspect of the site. You’ll know once you’ve looked it over whether the curriculum will suit your needs before you pay the $7.95 monthly or $79 annual subscription fee. If the site is to your liking you can always ask Santa or Grandma and Grandpa to give it to the kids as a holiday gift!
ABCmouse is not a replacement for parental attention, which is more essential than any Internet site can be. However, it can augment the time child and parent spend together. It can also be a solution for parents who want their children to experience what the Internet has to offer in a safe, non-threatening way.