Monday, December 3, 2012

Reflection Flashback circa 2009: What Happens if ... You Give A Child A Camera?

Well, I gave the children a camera and answered that question!  It was during rest time while the adults were putting children to sleep.  A, M, and YH were doing quiet activities at the table. YH had used the camera to take a photo of his letters. YH then spread the love and took pictures of M and A. He then shared the camera with them. They posed, took pictures of one another from close up and from far away. They took pictures through the window of outside where the rain was bucketing down. They took abstract photos of objects in the learning environment. My colleague L grabbed our other camera to take pictures of the children using the camera.
What prompted this? Well, I had previously been to a conference where a presenter had made the point that we diligently photo document the children’s work. She questioned us as to when do we give the right and responsibility of documentation to the children? When do we give them permission to use the camera so they can share their own perspective? I thought that this was FABULOUS so I tried it with great success.
As my colleague and I looked through the children’s photos we were impressed with their creativity both in posing, almost as characters for the camera, but also in documenting their unique perspectives of the world around them.
The previous story happened way back in 2009. I thought I would just share it with you because it was a beautiful moment that made it into my personal reflections.  It also marked a shift in my professional development as a practicing teacher. It was a moment where I chose to view the children as powerful and capable. It was a moment that created change in our learning environment.
This could be a story for the child's portoflio along with the images that they took. It certainly links to the EYLF in many ways although it happened in a time before the EYLF was even published. This story is the child's voice! It shows the children as actively involved in their own learning! The children are sharing their knowledge with each other! They are sharing and negotiating taking turns which in turn is about the relationship that they have with each other! It's the children not only exploring technology, but also using it successfully! They are transfering what they have learned in one context into another. They are learning through play!
There is more than one way to observe and document.
I think in a perfect world, we would have cameras for the children so that they could share their ‘voice’ more readily!
© Teacher’s Ink. 2012 All Rights Reserved

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