• Video and Stop Motion Projects in ECEC

    If they are allowed to use a camera themselves, children learn

    • how to produce exciting stories about love and conflict, about big and small heroes,
    • or how to produce audio-visual information , for example about making a cake.
    • With the help of a camera (e.g. a tablet camera) they learn how film and television programmes are made.
    • They are given the opportunity to become creative and articulate themselves.

    They can get involved in all stages: developing a short story, designing a scene, editing and soundtrack

    Based on children's knowledge and experience with various film and television genres, TV-like video productions such as animated films, game shows, commercials  or television films can be made a theme in ECEC.

    Children can replay their favourite show in a TV-studio-like environment and redesign it creatively. This allows them to adapt essential production forms of these film and television genres.

    Films are very fascinating for children, which is the reason why it is sometimes not easy for them to avoid media illusions. Film and television industry uses a few tricks to create films. Large cities are recreated as miniature forms and appear big due to camera settings, scenes are digitally reworked on computer and actors are replaced by stuntmen. Preschool children do not yet have sufficient knowledge to understand how these tricks are made.

    By trying out simple film tricks, children's media literacy can be promoted in a playful way.

    Children are not primarily guided by the order of the story shown when watching their favourite shows. They tend to focus on details that they can relate to their reality or elicit an emotional response from. Image perception by young children is random, little systematic and orientates itself towards the moment. The same applies to active use of a camera by children. Just like working with photos, it is possible to get an insight into the children's view of the world by letting them use the camera freely and intuitively.

    Give children opportunities to film instinctively and spontaneously with a camera, without a script or a ready-made plan. Let children go off without an adult and capture "their moment". Children can then depict what they perceive with their eyes and make their "inner" eye on the world visible to you.

    The more design forms, montage principles and tricks children get to know, the sooner they will be able to classify and understand even more complicated strands of action, with flashbacks, parallel actions and leaps in space and time. This form of video work with children is about applying and learning essential film dramaturgy tools that are important in film and television. By testing film-specific means of design in a playful way and thus gaining a better understanding of the plot, children do not lose their fascination for prepared stories. Despite the acquired knowledge, they still want to be entertained by film and television.

    A few guidelines can help ECEC professionals and children work with stop motion video in order to use this medium effectively in ECEC. Their teachers should not be too intrusive while children are working with a camera. This way they will not influence the intention of the filmmaker too much. However, it can be enriching in video work if, for example, help is given by exchanging some dialogues to get a message across. Here the ECEC teachers do not always have to be ahead of children's knowledge; instead they should be rather open-minded and open to common learning processes.

    Video & Stop Motion in Practice

    As with photos, children should be shown how to use video recording devices. Here the same rules apply as they were presented in module 6.

    Different settings and perspectives addressed in module 6 will of course also bring a (stop motion) video to life. They are particularly important in stop motion video so that the result is not boring for the viewers in the end.

    When working with children, however, it is particularly important that focus is not on perfection, but on experimenting with technology and promoting creativity.

    If you want to tell a story with a stop motion film or video, you should think about a short script and length of the film together with the children beforehand. This makes realistic planning easier and prevents you from doing too much.

    Comprehension Questions

    1. Why shouldn’t ECEC professionals get too much involved when children are working with a camera?

    2. Should the preschool children be involved in all stages of making a film? Why yes?/Why no? 

    3. What do young children focus on when watching a film?