Friday, February 15, 2013

Using a Digital Camera in the Montessori Classroom

NAMC using a digital camera in the montessori classroom girl taking photo
Mention the word ‘technology’ around Montessori teachers and there is a mixed reaction. Some love the idea of developmentally and pedagogically sound use of technology, and some strictly adhere to not using technology in the classroom, preferring to use traditional Montessori materials and lessons. Others still cringe at the thought of having to learn how to use technology in the classroom. But not all technology is about the Web 2.0, Windows 8, or mobile devices. Using technology in the Montessori environment can be as simple as using your digital camera.

The Montessori Classroom: Enrich Your Community and Works with a Digital Camera

Digital Observations
Dr. Montessori emphasized the importance of conducting student observations in the Montessori environment. Sitting quietly and writing down what the children are doing and how they are progressing is an important part of the daily tasks of any Montessori teacher. This can be difficult when there are so many individualized lessons to present. The use of a digital camera can help you record the daily activities of your classroom. This can assist you when writing up your individual observations, conference reports, end of year reports, and even classroom newsletters. Here are some suggestions of events and activities to document with your camera:
  • The first and last day of school each year to add to each child’s portfolio
  • Daily works the children are using
  • Field trips
  • Guest speakers
  • Special classroom events such as an open house
  • Activities on the playground
  • Classroom dramas, songfests, cooking, or large science demonstrations
  • Oral reports
  • Working in the garden
  • Community service
NAMC using a digital camera in the montessori classroom boy taking photo
Creating Montessori Materials
Digital cameras can also be used to create materials for your Montessori environment. Some ideas include:
  • Making nomenclature (3-part) cards
  • Creating/enhancing timelines
  • Documenting difficult layouts or works with multiples steps
  • Creating a series of pictures for learning sequencing
  • Printing a class picture on iron-on paper and make class t-shirts (great for wearing on field trips!)
  • Allowing students to use the camera to document nature and thematic walks
  • Assigning the job of Class Photographer to a different student each week. Invite the students to document learning in action and use it their/your newsletter.
A friend of mine who is a Montessori teacher devised an imaginative way of documenting the daily occurrences in his classroom. Every day at pick-up he would hear parents ask that age-old question, “What did you do today?” To provide them with a window into their children’s day, he started documenting the morning work cycle with his digital camera. He then posted the photos on a secure site every day at lunch time. Parents loved seeing their children learning and working and he could focus on what he needed to do and say at the end of the day.

The possibilities of how you can use a digital camera in your Montessori classroom are endless. If you use a digital camera in your Montessori environment, we would love to hear from you!
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, February 15, 2013.


  1. I love the idea of a classroom photographer! And speaking of creating Montessori Materials, I have my own blog of materials I have made... I must say your beautiful books have helped in many ways, NAMC! I received my Montessori Certificate through NAMC last year and it has been a wonderful experience. Here is my blog, if you are curious what I've been up to:

  2. Hi Angelique! Thanks for your kind words and for sharing the url for your blog. I really liked seeing the pictures of your Montessori environment.

  3. How cute Michelle.... I hope you don't mind me mentioning some great children photography tips I found on another photography blog recently, which really are useful and practical steps to take better pics. Just click on my name to find out what I mean:) Thanks again for brightening up my day!


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