Early childhood is a time for learning through doing. Children grow their imaginations by experiencing the wonders of nature and through creative play. They are learning to navigate social relationships with their peers. As parents and teachers, we want to give children the gift of childhood. The best way we can support this time is to protect and nurture children by giving them the time and space they need to figure out these things.
One of the biggest distractions from the work of childhood is the intrusion of media. Traditionally, a screen is a medium for delivering media, whether it's a television, tablet, or computer. But a camera, a device that records media, can also be a big distraction. Next time you take a photo of your young child, observe her reaction. Once she knows the lens is pointed in her direction, she will often turn her full attention to it, losing track of whatever pursuit was engaging her mind moments ago.
Experts are increasingly recognizing the potential harm of putting the focus on photographing our children so frequently, which is why we at Waldorf School of New Orleans do not take individual photographs of our Early Childhood students for our yearbook. We photograph the class as a whole, which helps to emphasize the importance of each person in the class and keeps each child's sense of self in perspective.