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The Camera Visits Kindergarten
by Stephanie Capalbo

Stephanie Capalbo is working toward National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist.

November 17, 2003

Five-year-olds are curious by nature and they love to perform in front of a camera. The video camera had come to be a fixture in the classroom. This was a way to ease the transition of a camera into the classroom for both the kindergartners and myself. I wanted it to become part of the background and not a distraction, so I let them look at it, touch it and explore what it could do -- basically to "get it out of their systems."

Then I set the camera up in what I thought would be a conspicuous spot in the room. I was wrong. Instead of ignoring it, they stared at it, put their faces within inches of it, and frequently tripped over the tripod. In their five-year-old attempts to be careful around the camera, they seemed to go out of their way to be near it.

Finally, however, test videotaping began -- to record the sound quality in the room, to gain a sense of the picture quality, and of the body language as depicted in the video. I found the sound was muffled and individual children's words were a bit difficult to decipher, so I decided that in the next videotaping session, I would repeat students' phrasing to better represent their conversations on the tape.

Transitions from one activity to another also felt as though they lasted an eternity, although in actuality they lasted only a few minutes. Having the constraints of a 15-minute uninterrupted, unedited piece of tape has made smooth and efficient transitions between activity locations a priority.

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Meet Stephanie Capalbo

Stephanie Capalbo received a bachelor's degree in psychology with a concentration in elementary education from Rhode Island College in May 1995. She became certified in early childhood education in August 1997. For the past six years, Stephanie has been teaching kindergarten at Bradford Elementary School in Westerly, Rhode Island. In the fall of 2000, the kindergarten at Bradford became the first and only kindergarten in the district to receive accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). In 2003, Stephanie was named Westerly's Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year.

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