Essential computer skills for four and five year olds

Boy playing on computer
Learning about computers is as essential as reading, writing and arithmetic. Amy Schofield shows how to support your child’s ICT learning at home.

Many early years activities are centred on developing your child’s understanding of their environment. As part of the National Curriculum in the Reception Year and Year 1, your child will be encouraged to use ICT resources, such as computers, to develop their skills and support their learning and understanding. So help them get to grips with technology at home to give them a head start in the classroom.

Computers and your four year old

There is specific curriculum guidance linked to ICT skills at Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), and your child will be given opportunities to use ICT to develop skills across the areas of learning. By the end of EYFS most children should be able to:
  • complete a simple computer program
  • perform simple functions using mouse and keyboard
  • log on to a computer network such as the school’s Learning Platform
  • use appropriate internet-based games and activities to support their learning. 

How to help your child at home

Activities to develop the ICT skills of your Reception Year child include:
  • Using the keyboard to input the alphabet in lower and upper case, using the space bar in between each letter.
  • Using the keyboard to write their own name, holding the ‘SHIFT’ key for the capital letter.
  • Playing simple games on a site such as CBeebies - encourage your child to type the web address into the address line or a search engine, then let them play the games to develop mouse and keyboard skills.

Computers and your five year old

During Year 1 (the start of Key Stage 1) pupils learn to explore ICT and use it confidently to achieve specific objectives, building on what they learnt in Reception. Your child will learn how to:
  • develop their ideas
  • record and present their creative work
  • use hardware and software.

How to help your child at home

Activities to develop the ICT skills of your Year 1 child include:
  • Taking a digital photo, uploading and manipulating it.
  • Create a self-portrait using a web-based resource such as Picassohead, then printing and displaying it.
  • Using the keyboard to create words and simple sentences.
  • Talking to your child about how computers help them to learn.