Lancaster, PA. Little Smiles Daycare opened up the first ever iPad automated daycare center in Lancaster City on Saturday afternoon ushering in a new role of technology in the upbringing of children.
The new daycare center features thirty five stations, each equipped with an iPad and an outlet to keep the iPad charged for hours on end. The iPads are used to keep the children entertained with movies, audio books, and learning activities and replaces the traditional role of teachers and mentors.
Deborah Yale is the director of the daycare. She says the iPads are a valuable and revolutionary tool in the daycare industry. “The children are familiar with iPads since it’s a popular babysitting tool of the modern day parent. Using iPads helps the children acclimate to our center more quickly.” Yale says that under the old system of having several human adults invest in the children’s lives on a personal basis, children were likely to throw tantrums and push their limits to see what they could get away with instead of just sitting lethargically in the corner with an iPad. “Now,” says Yale, “since the children’s babysitter is an iPad, the children don’t have any rules or social skills to learn, making them much easier to handle.” She says the children are noticeably better behaved when they have Dora the Explorer to watch rather than trying to interact with other children which brings all the drama typical of face to face interaction.
The revolutionary new system of daycare also saves money since it takes only one adult to manage thirty five children. “We only have one adult managing the center. They are there mainly to help the children if, say, a child’s iPad would stop working for some reason.” The drop off and pick up process is smoother as well since the children rarely even notice that their parents dropped them off and left. Yale says that this is by design. “We give the children their iPad to use at home. They are usually watching it in the morning even before they get to our daycare center. The parents just get them out of their car seat and plop them down in their station here usually without the child even noticing.” Since the children don’t interact with their own parents or the other children at the daycare, the center doesn’t have to deal with the dramatic goodbyes and fights associated with the typical social skills learning curve that children struggle with as they grow.
Not only does the new system avoid childhood drama, it eliminates the need for a playground since the children lose their desire to even be outside. Darla Knox is a supervisor who works part time during the evenings at Little Smiles Daycare. She says the children are quite stationary while under the iPad medication. “The most we see them move is when they shift their weight from one butt cheek to another,” she says. “It’s an efficient, hassle free system of storing children until their parents can come take them home to bed.”It's an efficient, hassle free system of storing children until their parents can come take them home to bed. Click To Tweet
The center is still a far cry from an ideal, fully automated daycare center since some human presence is needed, but technology is quickly catching up society’s needs. Robots are being fitted with better artificial intelligence every day and soon will be capable of driving the kids to daycare, playing their favorite Dora the Explorer episodes, and taking care of their broken iPads for them. “Soon parents won’t even have to put up with kids at all since technology will be taking care of all that time consuming work for them.”