Education has changed dramatically in the last twenty years. From early childhood education to high school and beyond, we have technology to thank for remarkable advances in teaching and learning. 

Tablets, laptops and smartphones have become valuable teaching tools. With so many options, however, parents, teachers and school districts often wonder which is the best for their students. Choosing wisely is the key to maximizing learning opportunities. For the youngest students, using iPads in the classroom paired with educational iPad apps are a sure-fire choice. 
iPads for Preschoolers to 2nd Grade:
the Right Device for the Right Age/strong>

Most school districts want to provide one computing device for every student. Ditto for parents. In fact, we know from research that 1:1 computing boosts student success. When it’s within their means, having a device for each student at school and at home maximizes learning success. 

So which device is best? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Early childhood learning tasks are vastly different from the tasks at later ages and grades. For the greatest teaching success, it pays to match the learning device with what students will be asked to do in their classrooms. 
A powerful laptop with sophisticated presentation and video editing apps isn’t a good fit for a young student just beginning to master the alphabet. A cost-effective Chromebook that’s ideal for general ed wouldn’t meet the needs of students in a high school graphic design class. For early childhood education, iPads (along with some great iPad apps for learning) are an ideal platform.
Why iPads are Ideal for Early Childhood Education

At home and at school, iPads are terrific learning tools for toddlers, preschoolers and students in the early elementary grades. There are many reasons for choosing iPads for early education. Parents and educators have a strong case for investing in this valuable learning tech. 

Early Childhood Education iPad Benefit No. 1:
Keyboard-Free Until the Child is Ready 

If you’ve ever tried working with a young child on a laptop or desktop computer, you’ve probably realized that the keyboard can be your biggest enemy. For one thing, keyboards aren’t sized for small hands. (Hint: iPads are!) For another, young children are prone to accidentally pressing keys. 

At best, in the classroom and at home, accidental key presses can cause frustration and learning disruption. This can sap teacher (and parent) time and drive learning objectives off track. At worst, accidental key presses can lead to IT expenditures. 

Many of us have heard stories about parents who have get their laptop fixed because they can’t figure out how to get it back to normal. Ever had to explain to a tech person why your computer screen is displaying a foreign language and you can’t switch back to English? Pointing the finger at your five-year-old is unbecoming. 

Until children know how to read fluently, have solid fine motor skills, and are past the “I wonder what that button does” phase, it’s wise to eliminate the physical keyboard. Your hero for early childhood education: The iPad!  

With a fun and easy-to-use touchscreen (preloaded with iPad apps you choose) even the youngest learners can pick up an iPad and get going quickly. Most have been using touchscreens at home on mom or dad’s tablet or smartphone for years before entering school.  

As children become more tech-savvy, parents and teachers can easily activate the iPad onscreen keyboard. This can be ideal for using iPads in the first grade and beyond, although students as young as preschool may be ready to tackle the iPad onscreen keyboard. 

Onscreen keyboards are the first step in preparing students to type fluently when they’re older. Fortunately, there are easy ways to add a physical keyboard when using iPads for early childhood education. 

Choosing a protective case with integrated keyboard or a case that’s compatible with the Apple Smart Keyboard provides students with a physical keyboard plus protection against the inevitable drops and dings.

Early Childhood Education iPad Benefit No. 2:
iPads Allow Young Students to Be Creative 

Using iPads in early childhood education classrooms is a great way to foster creativity. Want to turn a young child into an artist or just generally awaken their creativity? Introduce them to an iPad camera. Before you know it, they’ll be taking pictures of everything and from all angles. 

Young children soak up learning fast. Chances are, they’ll quickly get to know the iPad’s filters and photo editing. This may not seem like a big deal, but by using the iPad camera creatively with younger children, you’re providing them with skills for a lifetime. 

One fun lesson idea is to have students write and/or draw a story, then take photos to go along with it. This, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands ways to use the iPad camera as part of the learning process. 

Early Childhood Education iPad Benefit No. 3
iPads Improve Early Childhood Education – That’s a Fact! 

Don’t you hate it when a product makes a claim but fails to back it up in any way? Toothpaste that makes your teeth 90 percent whiter? Whiter than what exactly? As far as iPads for early childhood education go, many studies have shown the benefits of matching them up with young learners. 

Reading is the foundation of all learning and literacy is critical to successful early childhood education. iPads have been shown to help.  One study showed that Kindergarten students using iPads scored higher results on literacy tests than those without an iPad. Another study showed that preschool students with disabilities that used iPads and iPad apps had many learning improvements. 

Keep in mind that iPads are handy reading devices, and by downloading the Kindle iPad app, can become a Kindle device as well. Parents and teachers can support student literacy by sourcing free content from their local library. 

One important way that iPads improve early childhood education is by increasing what educators call “engagement.” For the parents reading this, engagement simply means how excited, interested and happy kids are about participating in a learning activity. 

Quite a few studies, like this one, have shown that using iPads and other digital devices goes a long way toward making students more interested and motivated to learn. (Fun and interesting iPad apps help, too!) 

The academic improvements achieved by young students with iPads don’t just extend to literacy. iPads have also been shown to increase math scores across the board, regardless of age. What could be better for young children than learning math skills with iPad apps that turn the task into a game? Like reading research reports? Here’s a listing of some of the leading research on iPads in education. 

Early Childhood Education iPad Benefit No. 4
The Number of Educational Apps for iPads is Staggering!

When digital learning was in its early days, teachers often relied on educational websites. Sure, these can be used for teaching young children, but it’s a lot more time-consuming and error-prone than relying on iPad apps. 

Fortunately, it’s easy for parents, teachers and schools to prep each child’s iPad in advance with appropriate educational iPad apps. For outfitting multiple iPads at once, the Apple School Manager makes things fast and simple for a school’s IT staff. Then, all students need to do it touch the app icon on the screen and away they go! 

According to Apple, there are more than 200,000 educational iPad apps available in the App Store. With so many to choose from, you’re bound to find some iPad apps that you love for your young students that love their iPads. 

Fun and engaging math apps will have young students learning basic math skills in no time. Try DragonBox Numbers, a Common Sense Media favorite iPad app for preschoolers through first grade. Some parent-approved iPad apps include Counting Caterpillar, Elmo Loves 123s and Fish School HD.

Literacy apps enable young students to learn letters, use phonics,  practice decoding skills and increase the number of sight words they know. For example, AlphaTots is an award-winning talking alphabet iPad app that’s highly recommended for preschoolers. One teacher favorite is Epic! - Unlimited Books for Kids, a huge – and free! – library of digital books for grades K to six. 

Ever wished your map and geography skills were better? Your children will soon surpass you using fun iPad apps like Stack the States, 
Delve into deeper topics with iPad apps like Coral Reef by Tinybop for a fun introduction to ocean ecosystems. Or Toca Tea Party for teaching social skills. 
Want more? Check out this list of top iPad apps for early childhood education from a leading certification provider for ECE teachers. 

Don’t Let Price Scare You Away from Getting an iPad

At this point you may be convinced that iPads have a lot to offer early childhood education. But, you may be asking, what about price? The news here is good, too. Prices on iPads have dropped, especially for schools. 
When iPads first debuted, they were expensive. Parents were looking at easily paying $500 or more back in 2010 for just one iPad with limited storage space. Nowadays, if you shop around a bit, you can find entry-level iPads at less than $300 apiece. 
The really big news is that Apple has added an all-new iPad designed for education and with a special discount for educators and schools. For just $299, educators get a souped-up 9.7-inch iPad with 10 hours of battery life, a processor powerful enough to drive exciting Augmented Reality apps, Apple Pencil support – and more. Consumers pay $329. College students qualify for the $309 purchase price. 

Don’t Forget to Protect your iPad Investment

Too many times parents and schools neglect to purchase a protective case for iPads, laptops, or Chromebooks, only to regret it later. Most of us spend a little extra on cases for our phones to keep them safe and sound.  It makes sense to do the same for home and classroom iPads. Especially when they’re being used by younger children. 
When using iPads with the youngest learners, there are going to be some accidents along the way. An “oops” here or a “sorry” there can get expensive. 
Finding the right case can be critical to protecting your iPad investment. Whether you’re looking for snap-on hard shells, rugged cases, or protective sleeves, there are many options available. Look for features like child safe materials, ruggedized corners and built-in stands. 

Visit for more info on cases and accessories from the leader in K-12 Chromebook protection, and more