Exploring the opportunities and challenges of the digital world for early childhood services with vulnerable children
© 2018, MDPI AG. All rights reserved. Potentially addictive behaviours supported by the internet and mobile phones raise concerns in education services for early childhood. Although there is evidence that screen media can distract the attention of young children, there was a massive uptake of digital devices by early childhood centres (ECCs). We investigated practices of families (n = 85) and of six ECCs serving vulnerable children in New Zealand, many of whom are emergent bilinguals. Descriptions of the limited and exemplary choice of screen media of the ECCs include digital portfolios containing children’s learning stories in multiple languages illustrated with digital photos. This was facilitated by increasing partnership with the families and the inclusion of their languages in the physical and digital landscapes of the ECCs. However, these families and the ECCs are seeking additional guidance to face the complex challenges of the digital world. These early findings from our national research programme, A Better Start, E Tipu E Rea, already informed significant changes in the ECCs; we also identified the potential for young children to act as agents of change.