Say "Cheese"!

A new year. Some new faces. Reunions with old friends. Many stories of summer adventures. Rekindling passions for work and learning. Many giggles. A few tears. All valuable. Endless opportunities to learn and grow. And this was just week one!

The first week back to school is always a beautiful flurry of joy, excitement, nerves, and orienting (or reorienting) to life at school. Each new and returning child, parent, and family unit experience this transition in their own unique way. As Montessori guides and administrators, our number one objective in these first few weeks of school is to help students and parents settle into the new year. This must be a physically and psychologically safe place for children to develop. Without the foundation of trust and respect, learning doesn't occur.

Our current cultural climate, specifically in regards to technology, is vastly different than it was even just a decade ago when OakHaven first opened our doors. It wasn’t until several years after we opened that we were able to purchase a digital camera for each classroom. That was big stuff. As a newly trained, and very enthusiastic, Montessori guide, the ability to take pictures in the classroom gave me an entirely new way to communicate to the parents (and the entire world) exactly what children are able to do in an authentic Montessori environment. For me, it was a game-changer. To say I was excited is quite the understatement.

Fast forward to now, just a few short years later, and our children can hardly sneeze without an enthusiastic adult wanting to document and share that first big moment with the entire world. I challenge you to find someone today who hasn’t heard of Facebook. Child YouTube sensations are making millions. Those of us who intentionally do not participate in social media (yes, I’m one of those odd ducks) are few and far between.

Before the start of school this year, our team had an engaging, in-depth conversation about photographing children at school (especially while working in the classrooms). Here are some of the main points we discussed around this important topic:

In favor of photographing children at school:

Powerful parent communication tool - as parents, it means so much to be able to see what/how our children are doing while at school. A picture is worth a thousand words!

Education about Montessori methods - Montessori education is widely misunderstood. We want each and every parent in the world to be able to better understand what Montessori is, how it works, and why it’s so beneficial for children. Photos and videos can be a great support with this.

Precious memories - we all love looking back at the children’s photographs as they grow and mature over the years.