The Department of Education has launched a competition to find the best quality early years learning apps to help disadvantaged children with their language and literacy skills.
Disadvantaged families in 12 areas across the country will receive free access to a choice of two of the best apps focused on early language, literacy and communication. The apps have been designed to help parents “think about how to use screen time constructively and provide meaningful learning activities for their young children in the years before they start reception (the first year of formal schooling).”
Tech companies from all over the country have been encouraged to bring forward any apps which meet the educational criteria, including elements of play, interaction and ranging-difficulty levels.
Parents will then have a choice of the apps they want to use, picking from hundreds already available on the market.
Kemi Badenoch, the new Children and Families Minister, said that the Government wants to “work together with families to give all children the best possible start, and support parents to begin the learning process at home”.
“Digital technology means there is a wealth of fun activities at parents’ fingertips, but the content of these is important too. That’s why we want to help parents make confident, informed choices about the resources they use, so they can help inspire a love of learning in their children,” she added.
Disadvantaged children are usually around four months behind in their development at the age of 5, growing to 6 months by the age of 11.
The competition follows the Hungry Little Minds campaign launched in July, which gives parents access to video tips, advice and games to help tackle the learning barrier.
It also follows the partnership with the National Literacy Trust, which brings together businesses and organisations to support parents with playing the most significant role in a child’s early education.