Media education for young children during the summer vacation

Babelsberg. Movie or TV evening? Digitization has long made the medium of film universally available on smartphones and tablets. Audiovisual content has become a part of everyday life – especially for children. And this is where Babelsberg University of Children’s Film wants to start.

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“There are a lot of people surrounded by moving pictures every day,” says project coordinator Laura Kaiser. According to a study by the Media Education Research Association Southwest, nearly every household with children has a streaming service subscription. More than two-thirds of children aged six to 13 look at movie shows on the Internet, for example on YouTube.

Recommendation: Videos for children over 4 years old only

“What you can notice is that children are exposed to media content at an early age,” continues Caesar. In general, it is recommended that children not be allowed to watch videos until they reach the age of four. But most children suffer from this early and passive consumption that diminishes their skills in media criticism. “This is why it is so important that they actively acquire the skill of media criticism,” Kaiser says.

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Laura Kaiser wants to give kids a behind-the-scenes look at filmmaking.

Enthusiasm for the medium of the film

This is exactly what Kinderfilmuni Babelsberg wants to convey. The main objective is to get young people excited about the medium of film by giving them an “inexperienced behind the scenes of filmmaking” in a simple way. Children should understand how movies or TV shows are made and also learn on their own. In particular, “people who cannot even imagine going to a film university are needed.” Filmmaking is about telling stories and giving people a voice – even outside of mainstream society. The University of Children’s Film wants to break down educational barriers, promote fun in cinematic storytelling, and at the same time impart media education.

31-year-old Laura Kaiser has been part of the Children’s Film League for two years and was the project coordinator for the last year. As the first children’s film university in Europe, the project was founded in 2007 by the University of Film and Television “Konrad Wolff” in collaboration with the Film Museum Potsdam and Talia Cinema. The portfolio consists of lectures, workshops and excursions. An annual lecture series held at Konrad Wolff Film University starting in January and running through May. From November you can register for the next year.

More information about Kinderfilmuni is available at https://kinderfilmuni.projekte-filmuni.de.

More information about Kinderfilmuni is available at https://kinderfilmuni.projekte-filmuni.de.

Be close to the target group

But how do you actually introduce kids to film education? What is very important is the position of equals. “Stories that interest children and young people succeed in taking the target group seriously and not lecturing them from above.” In addition, according to Caesar, it is important “to be close to the target group and to trust children and young people. If you do this, it always works.” That is why it is important to enable children in film production to act independently.

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The three-day television workshop is currently being held at the Media Innovation Center Babelsberg. On the last day, kids between the ages of 8 and 12 will record their own TV show for the event.

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A tour of Brandenburg

But what about the movie fans Babelsberg keeps so far away? Since 2020, Kinderfilmuni has been touring with film lectures and workshops such as animation or writing workshops to the rural areas of Brandenburg. The free events are funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Culture.

The aim of the so-called Brandenburg tour is to promote cultural performances in rural areas and “create an accessible show for all,” Kaiser says.

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Read also

In France there is the theme of Abitur “film”.

Cinemaphile France has long recognized that film has an educational function. While film education has been institutionalized in schools there since the 1980s, German media policy continues to lag behind. In specialized secondary schools in France, for example, there is the Abitur, which is also part of the literature curriculum. On the other hand, in the German curriculum, there is no school subject dedicated to media education. “There is still a lot of room for improvement,” says Laura Kaiser. The problem is that film education in Germany is “defined as a cross-curricular interest in the curriculum”. This means: “Everyone is responsible, but no one really.

by Wenke Bruchmuller

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