A colleague of mine, Yutaka Houlette, worked with our Pre K students (3-5 years old) this past summer and created, with them, one of the best video projects with children I’ve seen.
Yutaka set up a little blank stage for the children in which they could perform their own silent play. They each were allowed to choose a certain number of props, including scenery. When it was a child’s turn to perform, they could set up their props at their liking and perform for however long they liked. The other children in the class watched both the live action and later, the video of the action.
When you watch the resulting videos, you will see they’ve managed to capture and reveal what it is like to be in each child’s world. I found the speed and delicacy in which the children created their plays to be the most poignant elements of the videos. To be honest, this is exactly what we participate in on a daily basis in early childhood and it is one of the more difficult elements to articulate to adults who don’t have the patience or time to see what can be expressed through their children’s simple and exact actions.
As well, for the purpose of the Early Futures project, these videos can be seen easily as putting into practice many futures oriented ideas – media awareness, envisioning alternative worlds, non-linear understanding of time/narrative, creative problem solving, working within and through a limit, empowering the child, alternative forms of expression (as opposed to strict language) and, most importantly, breaking down the authority relation between adult/child worlds.