“Kids R Kids”, a preschool in Concord, North Carolina, USA, offers parents the opportunity to watch their children on the internet in a move which many preschools and other schools may follow.
In the surveillance age, the ability to watch one’s children remotely – not to mention the ability to vet their teaching first hand – may well be a huge attraction to a discerning Dad or working Mum who otherwise would not be able to witness their child being looked after at a kindergarten.
The preschool also offers parents unrestricted access, by biometric keypad, to watch in person at any time.
The introduction of “DVR” recording, though, is interesting, and is a model which could feasibly be copied by similar organisations, such as schools for older children, or even private hospitals, in order to demonstrate a high standard of teaching or care.
In an ever changing world, if preschools such as Kids R Kids can deliver peace of mind to parents, then surely their services will be here to stay. In the words of their co-owner, Marlene Kelly:
[the technology] is an investment in our community, our children’s future and most importantly their safety.
The preschool is also constructed with glass walls, so that all teachers – and parents – can see into every class and so that “students are constantly stimulated as they learn”.
However, the offer of the chance to watch this online will surely be of interest to many. It is easy to imagine the incredulity of those in less developed countries than America (or, indeed, to Americans thirty or forty years ago) when you explain that some parents in the USA, in 2009, are so busy at work that they send their preschool children to a classroom and watch them being taught on their computer screens at the office.
As parents and working families have less and less time for parenting in the modern age, it could well be that technology will continue to plug this gap: in future, though we might not be able to make it to sports-day, at least we can watch the live stream online at work.
Some teachers may also welcome the technology so parents could vet not only the teaching and care provided, but so parents could witness, first hand, just what a handful their cherished offspring are when at school.
For older children knife, gun and drug offences have caused many schools across the world to employ security measures – including routinely filming students to prevent and punish criminal offences.
Whatever the cases for and against, it would seem that surveillance in schools and preschools is likely to occur in classrooms as well as corridors: it would appear an idea teachers, parents and pupils may have to get used to.
Only now, it would seem, the cameras will be focused on teacher too.