Sunday, November 3, 2013

Apps for younger children - lestroiselles has got you covered

It can be quite difficult to find apps that meet the needs of a teacher and younger child - the teacher wants an app that ensures the child is learning something from using it, the child wants an app that's fun to use. So teachers have to scour the app store for suitable apps, they visit educational app related websites or they go on recommendations from colleagues, friends and social networking. Hence my Early Years apps recommendations for this month.

The following apps are all from the same developer, Les Trois Elles. I had been searching for suitable age related apps for the Early Years classroom and I came across more misses than hits, that is until I came across Lestroiselles and their Montessori based apps. There are 7 apps, most of which meet the needs of an Early Years child - writing, reading, identifying numbers, calculations, shapes and even animation are some of the areas these apps cover.

Letter sounds, Letter sounds (French), Numberland, 1st Operations, Montessori Maths, Geometry, Easy Studio 

Letter Sounds
Letter Sounds does exactly what it says, it covers the sounds that letters make and it's based on the Montessori method. It introduces each letter sound to the child and it also gives them the opportunity to learn how to write the letter by using on-screen tracing and other games. It's suitable for children from 3-5 years and challenging enough for any of your Early Years children.

Read more here.

Letter Sounds (French)
Similar to Letter Sounds but in French, an app that I couldn't use with my Early Years class but found to be quite useful with older children who have started French lessons in school. It has 4 games that I found to be suitable for ages up to 8 years and the content progressed from initial letter sounds in French, to writing first words in French.

This app introduces the child to the numbers 0-9 in a fun and enjoyable way. It's aimed at the younger child although it has a game that the user has to build numbers of matchsticks correctly and some of my Early Years class found this to be a good challenge, it also has number tracing to help a child learn how to write numbers 0-9. You can also set the language to 7 other languages!

1st Operations
This app can be set in one of 11 provided languages, it comes with 11 games and it covers adding, subtraction, sharing and doubling. This has been an essential app in my EYFS class and one that every child has enjoyed. The game is quite challenging as it uses numbers from 0-99 but it is very visual and the use of coloured cubes is great as you can repeat the game in class using multi-link cubes. My class loves this app and I highly recommend it.

Montessori Math + & - 
The developers recommend this app for 6-9 year olds and I have to agree, it is too difficult for an Early Years child as it is a more in-depth look at addition and subtraction up to 9999. I did however try this app with some older children and they immediately took to it and described it as a brilliant app that helped them with their Maths. I've got to take this app further with a range of children from 6-11 years old and I will revisit it in a future blog post. Give this app a try, you won't be disappointed.

This app is aimed at older children from 5-10, my class found it too challenging and children would always ask me to explain or show them how to use it or solve the question. However, when a child has been introduced to shape then it's a perfect app that consolidates learning and understanding. The games are good fun, the graphics are enticing, there are excellent definitions of the shapes and older children I used it with in Year 3 loved it.

Easy Studio
The last app from lestroiselles is Easy Studio, the easiest animation app I have come across. It is perfect for younger children as it starts up with an Easy or Expert option. The Easy screen provides an excellent tutorial and easy to follow levels that require the user to drag and drop shapes into ghosted positions on screen. The final edit pleases and demonstrates how animation is built up in layers.
Perhaps not aimed at Early Years but as a tool in KS1 (5-7years) it's hard to beat.

I have been surprised at  how useful these apps have become in my Early Years classroom, the children love them and I'm sure over the next term as they become more proficient with each app I should observe improved learning outcomes due to their use in class.