While I was in school for my psychology master in Finland, I subbed in preschools a couple days a week and full-time during summer months. I absolutely loved working with kids, and thank that experience for preparing me for my documentary family photography work.
It taught me to pay attention amongst the chaos
When you have 18-24 kiddos with you in the same room, you learn to keep your eyes on the (sometimes chaotic) big picture while paying attention to what goes on with individual kids.
It taught me to predict kid behaviors
Kids do a lot of cute things, naughty things, and straight up weird things. Having worked with a couple hundred kids during those 6 years, I learned to see that glimpse that goes through a kid’s eyes as they notice something in their environment that they’re going to take action on.
It taught me that everyone is unique and has something to offer
Because all kids were their unique traits and personalities, everyone had a “spot” in the larger mix of kids. Everyone contributes to the group in some way – just as everyone in a family brings something to the table.
It taught me that learning should be fun and delightful
Whenever there is something new I want to try or learn when it comes to photography, I remind myself to keep it fun and not put so much pressure on myself. And if there is something we can learn from kids, is that when we do something well, we should celebrate it!
While I miss working in preschools/daycare immensely, I’ve been so lucky to get to photograph the same families over and over again. This means get to witness the kiddos grow older, wiser and weirder every year.