1 Be in the know. Make sure you understand your computer and e program(s) you'll be using! Help children become familiar with computer parts and label them together.

2 Decide on a few simple rules. As you discuss computer use with your group, help children come up with a few rules that make sense to everyone involved: "Users must have clean hands." "No more than two people at the computer at one time." "If you're confused about something, ask."

3 Get In touch with what children can do. Children younger than four years old probably need preset programs. By four and five, they can begin to learn how to pull down menus, open programs, start and shut down computers, and print.

4 Develop routines and a use chart. You can utilize popsicle sticks or 3 x 5 cards in a pocket chart - just make sure everyone gets a turn. Your routine can include each child's telling the next one on the list when he is finished. You might also assign children a specific day. Consider pairing children up, since most like to discuss what is happening with others.

5 Use a timer. This way, you're in control of the duration of children's turns.

6 Establish a "help me" signal. Decide on anything from a paper cup to a small stuffed toy you name Help-Me-Harry or What's-Up-Wanda? placed on top of the monitor.

7 If possible, arrange for a volunteer to sit with children. There are always lots of questions to find the answers to; plus, children with no experience will need guidance and practice at manipulating a mouse.

8 Encourage the use of earphones. These help users and the other children in the room avoid distractions. If possible, position computers in an out-of-the-way area.