Thursday, February 17, 2011


Well, picture day was as much of a success as anyone could expect!  We managed to see true smiles from every single child in my classroom!  We threw a koosh ball, played musical instruments, gave kisses with a puppet, made silly noises, silly faces, said "ready, set, go" and ran around the camera area and came back to 'catch' that smile and basically made complete fools of ourselves!   

How DO you make an experience such as picture day at preschool meaningful to a child who is three or four years old?  Well, in our case, we make complete fools of ourselves and allow the children to giggle and laugh at us!  Hopefully, all our silliness today will be noticeable on the actual photos when they are printed!  (They did look awful darn cute on the preview screen!)

Here are my tips for making picture day as stress free for the children and adults as possible:
  1. Bring props...lots and lots of the most loved props in the classroom (we packed a small backpack with small items from the classroom).
  2. Look at things from the child's point of view.  That large screen or great big lights may not scare you, you know what the purpose is.  It probably will worry the little ones.  Explain what things are and what they are used for if you know the children will understand the concepts.  If not, simply try to make the experience quick and painless!  Allow the children to touch as much as is allowed.  Give them time to warm up to the room and equipment.  If the children need to wait, try to make sure they have a hand of someone they know, in order to feel safe. 
  3. It's never a failure to say, "We'll come back later when it's a little quieter in here!"
  4. Insist that someone the child KNOWS will help the child.  ONLY if the child seems comfortable with the photographers should you allow them to assist the child.  (It's stressful enough, the child doesn't need new people combing their hair, adjusting their shirt or "kissing" them with stuffed animals!  The people who know the children should do these things.  Of course, if the child is smiling and seems comfortable, take advantage of the extra assistance!)
  5. Bring a great BIG bag of patience!  You'll need it!
  6. Take what you can get.  Don't expect the child to sit there for multiple attempts at a picture unless they are happy and having fun! 
  7. Finally, join forces with the photographer.  If at least ONE photographer seems sensitive to the fact that a child may do better in a different position (in his or her wheelchair, or sitting rather than standing) or with things done in a bit of a different way, talk to that person about how things may work better for the child.  Then make adjustments immediately! 

Grab the "How Long is this Hall" Button!

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