with regard to safety you can buy some great protectors including one with 'balls' at each corner. we use them at a special school with a wide variety of students including those with behavioural difficulties who definitely don't treat them gently!
I wouldn't recommend the proper I pads for pre-school. My teacher used a hefty chunk of our budget to buy 3 and one has had the screen smashed already. What about starting with a Leappad or Innotab? So much cheaper and more robust.
Yes, you can get the apps in itunes and then sync them onto the ipad. Personally I don't see the benefit of screen time at all for young children, but I understand it's part of the EYFS. 21mo DD can swipe the open screen on the ipod and rearrange the icons on the screen. So they are definitely intuitive to use. (She also demands peppa holding the ipod, definitely not a good thing).
DS is at a preschool which is attached to a school and they have two iPads in each classroom. I would say go for the iPad itself as most of the educational apps which are made for UK are on iPad rather than android or leapfrog or the others. Android has lots of free apps but for example phonics apps tend to be American which isn't helpful as the pronunciation is different. They use them in small groups with the teacher, maybe 3-5 children at a time taking turns from what I have seen.
They do need to be able to connect to internet to download apps, but most of the apps don't need constant internet connection to work. I don't know what apps are particularly good but sure someone will be able to recommend. If you have wifi at home, you could just download the apps from home and then take the iPad into nursery. If you don't have wi-fi I don't know if you can download them via the computer and then sync using a cable, someone else will have to clarify.
We don't have any IT equipment (i.e. in the way of computers) and in the EYFS they should be able to access a simple programme and I'm not letting them loose on my laptop!!!! We have other equipment like remote control cars etc but it is the computer side that lets us down.
why do you need an ipad? what IT equipment do you already have? i can see some benifits, but if the kids use them at home or out with parents, thats a lot of screen time a day, and it may not be of benifit for someone of 2yrs.
I need to get more IT equipment at my pre-school and was reading an item regarding I pads etc. What would be the best one to get for children between 2.5 and 4 years old to be able to get to grips with. Do I go for the 'proper' I pad or go for one designed for children? Do they always needs internet to work as we are not currently connected? (village hall set up but am looking into it) What apps are available to children of this age?
I can see the benefit to having them but don't know much about them. Any advice would be gratefully received.