A powerful child-led action to enable listening, understanding and change
Photovoice has it roots in action research where marginalised individuals and groups are given the opportunity to take photographs to promote dialogue to share and deepen understanding of an issue or concern and bring about change.
One cannot help drawing comparisons with the powerful potential of photovoice as a participatory method for young children in early childhood settings. Photovoice enables children to create symbolic representations to offer insight, communicate their experiences and help others see the world through their eyes.
The development and design of ‘My View’ – the latest story template on MOSAIC Educator, is a practical response to The Participation Framework: National Framework for Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-making (DCEIY 2021).
Whilst the MOSAIC multi-modal documentation system enables the participation of children in a variety of ways, the introduction of ‘My View’ leaves no room for misinterpretation in terms of the inclusion of child voice employing photovoice and communication.
The unique and innovative design of ‘My View’ puts a spotlight on completely child-led pedagogical engagement. Photovoice employs photography and discussion as a means for children to express and deepen their understanding of an issue, concern or idea. The visual images and accompanying narrative are a pedagogical tool that give ‘Space, Voice, Audience and Influence’ (Lundy 2007) to early childhood experiences.
Child ‘Voice’ in the context of photovoice can be used to give the child the right and opportunity to communicate a feeling or opinion in matters that impact on them. Photographs can be used for reflection with children and discuss ideas to bring about change. For example:
- What is important to the child
- What the child’s strengths are
- What they like/dislike
- What they are interested in
- What they would like to change
- Things they want to talk about.
“Images contribute to how we see ourselves, how we define and relate to the world, and what we perceive as significant or different. The lesson an image teaches does not reside in its physical structure, but rather in how people interpret the image in question.” Carolyn C. Wang, 1997 Photovoice Creator/Researcher.
About the Author:
Avril McMonagle is Founder and CEO of MOSAIC Digital Solutions for Early Education which provides a range of child centred digital products, training and quality compliance supports for early childhood services and stakeholders. The company flagship products are the MOSAIC Educator and MOSAIC Family Apps which offer multi-modal documentation and assessment tools for professional educators. For more or to book a demo see www.mosaicearlyed.com; email [email protected] and follow us on social media @mosaicearlyed