In our GoStudent expert talks, we speak to experts in the field of education! Find out more on real-life insights from leaders in the ed industry. 🚀
For adults and children alike, cinema is an immersive experience. Where you can forget about the world and its worries for a few hours. Where stories inspire laughter and tears, where the mind can come out refreshed and rejuvenated. A place all of us have been grateful for, to escape the uncertainties of the pandemic.
Yet for many students, the overwhelm of online learning along with increased screen time in lockdowns, has perhaps cut short ‘movie time.’
Homeschooling combined with WFH has made stress-free digital parenting almost impossible for many parents. In such circumstances, it’s easy for films to become just another ‘digital pacifier’ for students.
We understand that if students are watching the latest Disney movie, parents don't necessarily have to constantly monitor their screen time for the next two hours. Parents feel students are safe online. They can also get ahead of those chores or attend that zoom meeting uninterrupted during this time!
Yet good kids’ films have so much more to offer students, especially if parents watch them with them. As students go back to school from remote learning, perhaps it’s time to consider actively adding movies back to their scheduled screen-time.
Though before you do that, parents might want to consider what exactly is ‘good’ children’s films? 🤔
According to our experts, good children’s films should be diverse in terms of stories, region and culture. Students must see a familiar backdrop of their own home and life that they can connect to on screen. Yet to open their minds, they must also be able to view the different and often similar lives of children from different parts of the world.
🔥 Expert Tip: “Picking good cinema is also understanding where your child is at – what their needs are, their struggles, their reality,” says Lynne McVeigh; the associate professor of film, TV & children’s media at the Tisch School of Arts in New York.
Here are some questions parents can ask themselves before they pick a film from a list of ‘best kids movies’ :
- In a pandemic does my child need films of hope and joy?
- Is a documentary on wildlife more interesting for my child who loves animals?
- If my child has lost a loved one, can a movie with a similar theme help him relate to and process his or her grief?
So what will students learn from good children’s movies? 🤔
🔥 Expert Tip: “Children see themselves represented in movies,” says Anne Schultka; the project manager of Germany-based Kids-Regio, which is a platform for promoting high-quality European children’s films. “For them, if you can see it, you can be it.”
Cinema is a great source for good stories, ones that both inspire and delight. If students can see diverse role models that come from their own backgrounds in these stories, they’re able to fuel their own aspirations through these stories.
Whether it’s through fantasy or documentary, good kids' films allow students to dream without putting limitations on their abilities! 💪
👉 Emotional Growth
🔥 Expert Tip: “When children watch movies with either their family or their friends it contributes to their emotional growth,” says Nicola Jones; part of the Kids Regio team and CEO of German Children's Media Foundation Golden Sparrow. “That’s because they feel a sense of belonging through the shared experience of watching cinema.”
This shared experience includes not only watching content together but also the opportunity for students to talk about it with their parents.
Like being able to ask questions, discuss their thoughts, and express their feelings about the movie in a supportive environment.
So when complex subjects like grief, betrayal or death come up in movies, parents would be able to guide students through their emotions. Which can make students more capable of managing their mental health in school and other parts of their life. ✊
According to McVeigh, the experience of cinema with loved ones is really important for children’s “development of their socio-emotional self”. This is because the recent increased use of social media can make students feel more isolated and vulnerable.
Moreover, research shows that high emotional intelligence helps students to learn better at school as well!
👉 Strengthens Relationships
🔥 Expert Tip: “The fact that parents have chosen to watch a movie with their children, let’s them know that their parents care about them,” says McVeigh. “That they care about them enough to do something together.”
At present, the pandemic has blocked access to outdoor activities like going to the playground or even the zoo for quality family time. So watching a movie together as a family is one of the best ways to make time for students!
👉 Arouses Curiosity
If students are watching diverse cinema, their curiosity is bound to be sparked. Whether that is through seeing different cultures on screen or hearing new languages. They virtually visit and experience places they might not have a chance to do as children or might be inspired to do so later in their adult lives!
Children love stories. Cinema narrates them in the most immersive way for children by engaging all of their senses.
So cinema becomes the perfect medium to spark students’ interest and connect them to life outside their own world. Good cinema makes students curious about the context, pretext and subtext of the stories they see play out on screen, which ultimately will lead them to their own purpose in life. 👊
Personally for me, watching a variety of world cinema as a teenager inspired numerous essays about them. Which ultimately led me to become a professional writer!
👉 Appreciate Beauty
Cinema is an incredible art form. As it combines multiple art forms like storytelling, acting, music, dance, animation and so many more to create a beautiful experience. 🎨
If students are exposed to the beauty of the arts at a young age, it inspires them to create art and instils an appreciation of the art itself. This can have benefits on their overall development, as students learn tremendously about themselves from art and play.
Though with the influx of cinematic content available, parents are probably wondering – what are the best children’s movies to watch? 🤔
Here are a few suggestions by our experts on how to curate the best content for students :
Pick a film that’s been nominated or been a winner of the Young Audience Award Of The European Film Academy. With titles of the last ten years available on their website, these films have been picked by the largest children’s jury in Europe!
The films that were nominated this year are :
- Pinocchio by Matteo Garrone (Italy / France)
- The Crossing by Johanne Helgeland (Norway)
- Wolfwalker by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart (Ireland / Luxembourg)
While diversity is the marker of good cinema, foreign-language and non-commercial films for children are often hard to access. They are usually available only in the country of their origin or often lack English subtitles.
So the best way for parents to get access to children’s foreign films is through children’s film festivals. Many of which are now in a pandemic world, is available online!
If you are struggling to find a particular children’s film on a popular streaming platform, Lumiere Vod is a fantastic resource.
A database of European works (film and TV seasons), allows you to search a film by its title and then directs you to the streaming platform the film might be available on!
The British Film Institute has an expansive list of ‘must-watch family movies’ that you can now rent and watch on their media player. Parents are sure to find here, some of their own childhood favourites too!
Good children’s films also mean giving students a variety of films they can choose from.
This means not presuming that they might like only adventure and fantasy films over child-appropriate documentaries, rom-coms and even horror movies!
Parents can also preview children’s films before students watch it. Not only to see if students might engage with it but also to see if they themselves find it interesting.
No child wants their parent dozing off when it’s family movie time! 😴
Our Advice: Parents should encourage students to watch good movies for a number of reasons:
- Cinema allows students to press pause to the worries of their world and immerse themselves in stories.
- Connecting with strong role models in movies can empower students.
- Making movies a family experience gives students a sense of care and belonging, which supports their emotional growth.
- Watching good children’s films make students more curious about their lives and the world around them.
- Cinema makes students appreciate the beauty of multiple art forms.
- The best children’s movies are those that are diverse in culture and genre, while also catering to the specific needs of your child.
At GoStudent, our tutors make sure students have the best academic support. So they and their parents can make time to watch some of the best children’s kids films available to them. You can book a trial lesson with one of our tutors!