Photography in classrooms and child care centers has become a typical part of classroom routine. Teachers and caregivers use cameras, tablets, and classroom phones to take snapshots of children actively engaged in play as a curriculum planning tool and as a way to communicate with families.
Sending photos to parents is a great way to communicate what happened through the course of the day. Parents who receive photos are able to feel connected to the child’s day by quickly browsing through photos that show what children did, who they were playing with, and more. Teachers and caregivers have access to a simple and fast way to send updates, rather than having to place phone calls or send messages. If a picture is worth 1000 words, sharing a photo the perfect opportunity to give parents a detailed update in a fast and convenient way.
Quality over Quantity
When taking photos, best practice is to always think of quality over quantity. Having fewer, high quality photos will be much more beneficial to you and much more exciting for parents to review.
Consider the following questions prior to sharing photos with parents:
Is the photo clear? Try to only share photos in which you can clearly which children are in it and what they are doing.
Did every child get featured? Make sure that each child’s family will receive photos of them when an album is shared. This might be done by having a checklist, having teachers assigned to particular children, or posting at the end of the week with a focus on a certain child each day.
Is the child actively engaged in play? Generally, it is best to avoid photos where children are smiling or posing. While it is great to see children happy, posed photos of a child typically do not give insight into the child’s day or learning. A tip to support this is to photograph the child’s hands engaged in molding clay or painting. Sometimes a child’s hands can tell a whole story!
Does it tell a story? Try to share photos that tell the story of the day! Some teachers might find this most doable by sending just one photo a day (maybe during nap time when there is a few minutes to organize the photos) with a one-sentence description about what is happening. Children actively engaged in reading a book, playing a musical instrument, or building with blocks paints an authentic picture of what the child’s day was like.
Photos for Curriculum Planning
Photos can later be reviewed later during nap time or a team meeting and used as a curriculum planning tool. When looking back at photos, you might catch details you didn’t notice before. This can support curriculum planning to think about what questions the children are asking, to find out what they are interested in, and think about ways to dive deeper into the learning. Later, these photos can be used for documentation to act as a classroom display, showcasing the children’s learning.
How to Share Photos
If you do not currently share photos with parents, there are many different options to consider. Some teachers use apps such as Brightwheel, Sandbox, or MunchKin Report while other teachers keep it simple with weekly albums through private Facebook groups or Google Photos. An important note is that these apps, while offering much more robust variety of features, typically have costs and subscription fees. Google Photos and other social media options are free.
All of these options are great ways to share photos, but the most important thing is to find the way of photo sharing that works for you and your team. Once you find a system that works, stick to the plan to ensure that parents receive consistent, dependable communication.