In 2007, I began teaching digital photography classes to four- to seven-year-olds in Seattle. They were little summer classes, just a few hours at a time, and it was really amazing. The perspective they have on things is so different and refreshing -- they took some really lovely photographs. Since then, I have used digital cameras in the classroom.
I attribute their alternative perspective (compared to adults) to two things : their size (their perspective is naturally lower) and their interests. Some children ask other children to pose and smile, as they have seen at some point at a family gathering or a birthday party. Others take photos like I do, documenting our day and what people are making without making them stop. But generally, they are not concerned with the product -- it is all about what the subject is while it is happening.
Another reason I love giving children cameras is because it is another form of visual art for them to experiment with. Just as a child can paint what they see or what they like, a child with a camera can take photographs of what they see and like. For children who cannot draw representationally, a camera allows them to show exactly what they want to show. They just have to turn it on, make sure what they like is on the screen, and press the big button. Done.
I'd like to share some of my favorite photographs by children, maybe once a week - I have many already and there are more to come.
Do you allow children to take photographs in the classroom?