The Role of Animation in Early Childhood Education -Kazi Falguni Eshita
Animation seems to be one of the easiest mediums to teach modern children. Due to the easy accessibility of various gadgets, tiny tots tend to spend a lot of time in front of screens these days. The fascinating world of animation works hand in hand with children’s imagination. Animation also works as a very useful tool in Early Childhood Education. How? Let’s look into that.
According to the Walt Disney Company: “Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive. This facility makes it the most versatile and explicit means of communication yet devised for quick mass appreciation.” Storytelling is one of the easiest ways of getting inside a toddler’s mind. Little ones use their imagination both for fun and as an easy way to communicate with others. Animation brings that imagination to life, hence making it simpler for the viewers to relate to the characters they are watching. Moreover, the combination of various appealing mediums like colors and music help children remember animation better, in comparison to printed books.
“Children under the age of seven often find that using digital tools or technology is the best way for them to express their creativity and by creating stories while using a piece of digital equipment they can now reach wider audiences and express themselves not only through their own voice and sound but also visually.” (Linda Silat)
On the other hand, it is not always easy for toddlers (students of Pre-K through Grade 1) to remember overlapping information. Hence, if they can be shown what they have to be told, they can remember the information without difficulty.
Animation can teach children a wide array of subjects like counting, arts and many others. In my opinion, the most important thing children can learn is values and virtues. Animated characters also inspire children to draw, hence helping them sharpen their skills with writing and drawing materials.
Who isn’t acquainted with the famous Walt Disney movies? It is true that many of those have the same type of endings, yet, they can teach children important factors like the value of true friends, or being happy for the happiness of others.
Yes, it is true that not all types of animation can be appropriate for all ages. Certain animation films like Chucky can actually be really scary for many children. Even then, parents allow children to watch some horror or violent movies, maybe to prevent monotony. Some movies can also have sensitive issues like sexuality or child abuse incorporated in them. It can’t be forgotten that adults actually make children’s movies, so there can be certain adult material inserted into the animation films.
Some movies/episodes that can leave a positive impact on a child’s mind are:
Sophia the first: Ordinary village girl Sophia became a princess out of the blue. It was not easy for her to adapt to a royal lifestyle, but even then, good-natured Sophia managed to win over everyone. This one can teach many values like bonding between siblings or being kind to others.
Leapfrog: Many different Leapfrog episodes are available through Netflix. Leapfrog episodes teach counting, words or shapes to kids.
Sesame Street: This one might seem ancient to today’s kids, this series started off a long time back. Even today, the Sesame puppets can appeal to children, and teach them various educational aspects in the process.
Disney films: There are many different Disney originals, also there are many Disney takes of classic stories. Disney has been an inseparable part of a child’s life since ages. These films not only appeal because of enchanting music and beautiful characters, but they can also teach values like: inner beauty lies within (moral of Beauty and the Beast).
Ever After High: These episodes are sequels of all the Disney movies. Unlike the traditional Disney films, here, princesses are really powerful. These episodes can make little girls believe that they also can be powerful human beings, and they won’t always need a prince charming to slay the dragon for them.
Meena: I really don’t know how many American children are familiar with siblings Meena and
Raju. The siblings, along with their pet parrot Mithu, teach children important aspects of life like sanitation, being in love with school, saying no to dowry and many other issues. Unlike traditional cartoon films which depict urban characters, Meena is set in rural Bangladesh. These educational episodes also talk about gender equality in a way kids will easily understand.
There can be many other educational animations which I’m not aware of. Animation is an important field of computer graphics which can also be used to create things like TV advertisements or election campaigns.
In conclusion, it can be said that animation, because of its uniqueness and easy accessibility, can be an important tool to educate both kids and adults.