Based on The Red Balloon, ERDP holds a Cinema in Education workshop to Early Childhood Educators
Based on the story of a red balloon that flies over the alleys of Paris and follows a young boy in his own imaginary world, 20 Early Childhood educators participated in a workshop, titled Childhood and Cinema: Between Fantasy and Educational Value. Informed by the French film The Red Balloon (Le Ballon Rouge) (1956) by Albert Lamorisse, educators explored the possibilities of using cinema in the classroom.
The workshop took place within the Early Childhood Educators Forum, which was organised by the Educational Research and Development Programme (ERDP) / A.M. Qattan Foundation (AMQF). Held on Saturday, 23 February 2019, the workshop explored the possibilities that a film may offer as an educational resource, as it has the potential to address students’ value system as well as enhance their own art appreciation and understanding.
The workshop was based on the French classic The Red Balloon which won Palme D’Or at Cannes Film Festival for Best Short Film. The film depicts a special friendship between a young boy and a balloon, which develops through a series of childhood adventures in the streets of Paris. The Red Balloon also addresses several issues related to children including friendship, enmity, innocence, sadness, happiness, and will.
The workshop was moderated by Dima Saqfalhait, Coordinator of the ERDP Arts in Education track. Together with educators, Saqfalhait developed a set of activities which educators can employ in the classroom. Informed by ideas of the film, these activities involved a comparison between the world of children and that of the film, in terms of time and place. Educators were also given the chance to imagine the potential events that preceded the beginning of the film, as well as what followed its ending, urging participants to engage with the film using their own creativity and imagination.
The workshop is part of the ERDP Cinema in Education programme which focuses on cinema as a topic by itself as well as on its intersections with other ERDP programmes.
Early Childhood educators engaged in analysing the film and its components, including mise-en-scène, sound, colour, characters, and symbols. Educators said that the film provided a clever context to discussing important issues related to children’s daily lives such as bullying.
Furthermore, educators agreed on the importance of using new educational methods to provide children with both value-added and interesting education. The Cinema in Education programme builds on participants’ experience with Drama in Education and Mantle of the Expert techniques, which Early Childhood educators mastered over the course of their professional development with the AMQF.
Educator Jumana Rabah said that fiction films can be screened to children and used to develop activities and educational material, which she found to be a new experience for her. Rabah intends to use what she learned from the workshop with her students soon. She expects that they will positively engage with the film.
Educator Maryam Manasrah believes that these teaching methods, which she mastered in the Early Childhood Professional Development programme, made her open to using new educational tools with children, including activities that children can enjoy and learn from at the same time.
On a regular basis, the Early Childhood Educators Forum is held for the alumni of the Early Childhood Professional Development programme, where educators have the chance to address a variety of educational themes and are exposed to new teaching practices. Educators are also constantly encouraged to share their own teaching experience with other educators, which, along with the workshops, contributes to their own professional development.