• Integrating photography in ECEC

    Photography as an opportunity to expand vocabulary

    It has been shown that children who have already had many experiences in life have developed a better vocabulary. They are better prepared to learn, read and understand what they are reading. Photos can help bring words and concepts into the daily work with children. When children take their own photos, they decide what is important and construct their own meaning of their experience. They learn to find words that help them describe their experiences. So children can benefit from collecting pictures in a variety of ways and places.

    Photography as an Educational Tool

    Photo albums to remember the year

    Pictures taken by both children and ECEC professionals throughout the year capturing important moments in children's lives can be sorted out in different photo albums. A class photo album that documents the events of the year is a special memory for a child. This album could focus on a single child and contain pictures of him or her and pictures he or she has taken. A class album could also contain photos of all the children and highlight the events throughout the year. A PowerPoint (PPT) presentation with selected images could be used at the closing ceremony. The album can also be used as a picture book, offering even more opportunities to build up vocabulary. The children could "read" the pictures as a story using the events during the year. Each child's reading would be unique and would give an insight into the child's perception of what happened during the activity or event.

    Concept of self

    Images can not only improve language skills but also support the development of children's concept of self.

    Let the children photograph each other on different days if they wear different clothes or dress up (i.e. as their favourite media figure). Ask them to identify who is in the picture. Talk about what different children and other people look like, depending on what they wear. Let the children identify pictures of them and discuss where there are differences and similarities. If children cannot recognise them in a picture, use this as a teaching moment to talk about how people can differ in appearance but are internally the same.

    Development of creative skills

    A creative activity is to ask the children to take some photos of their own interest. After printing the photos, the ECEC teacher can help them create a collage of these photos on card paper and write small captions for the photos. Look at this example:

    Emotional and social development

    Preschool children develop basic and important ideas about emotions. Photographs can help them develop speaking skills about their feelings. This plays a crucial role in their emotional and social development. Finding words for facial expressions helps children talk about their feelings. It is good for young children to have up-to-date pictures of themselves showing different emotions based on facial expressions and feelings. This way they can talk about feelings related to their own experiences. Pictures of smiling children can be used to talk about what makes children happy. In contrast, pictures of crying people can help to recognise feelings of sadness.

    Let one child demonstrate different emotions while another child takes photographs. If it is difficult for a child to express an emotion, it can help to talk about what makes the child sad, angry or happy in everyday life.

    Comprehension Questions

    1. Can you name some of the benefits of the use of photography for the preschool children?

    2. In which way can photos and photo albums contribute to language development?

    3. How can photos contribute to emotional and social development of young children?