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Photo use in classroom with personal phone

  • 1.  Photo use in classroom with personal phone

    Posted 01-29-2020 03:41 PM
    I'm wondering what policies schools have in place regarding teachers using their personal phones to take photos of children in the classroom.

    Cynthia Decker
    Preschool teacher
    Messiah Lutheran Child Care Center
    Des Plaines IL

  • 2.  RE: Photo use in classroom with personal phone

    Posted 01-30-2020 12:03 AM
    Teachers take pictures for documentation purposes, as well as to share with families. The families LOVE it! My teachers know they can't post any pictures to social media and that the pictures are for school use only.

    Menucha Goldstein
    New York NY

  • 3.  RE: Photo use in classroom with personal phone

    Posted 01-30-2020 12:32 AM

    Hi Cynthia
    I work for a non-profit development center and our policy is that no personal phones are allowed out in the classrooms. We have iPads to take pictures and use an app called Kaymbu to connect and share photos with parents. Our playground is not connected to our classrooms and is in a different part of the building so we do bring our personal phones in case of emergency when we leave the classroom. As far as pictures on personal phones, we have been instructed that if the iPad isn't working we may take photos with our phones as long as we send them to our classroom email and delete them from our phones as soon as possible. We are never allowed to post pictures of kid's faces on any websites or social media. I hope this was helpful! 

    Caitlin Curtis
    Lead Teacher
    Joyful Noise CDC
    Portland, Oregon 

    Caitlin Curtis
    Lead Teacher
    Joyful Noise Child Development Center
    Portland OR

  • 4.  RE: Photo use in classroom with personal phone

    Posted 01-30-2020 06:50 AM
    Hi, we don't have a school policy, but we also use an application called Seesaw to post photos/videos for parents to see (you can send to the child's parents or all of the class parents). Once I would post them, we would send some of them to print, because we would send home a paper portfolio at the end of the year, and then delete them off my phone. But there is no doubt that the ease of use and quality of photos of smart phones makes it a no-brainer to use them.

    I did did not want to hold photos or videos on my phone but actually there were some cases when documentation of certain children were necessary for behavior concerns. In that case, I would transfer them to the school drive. I still wouldn't keep them on my phone.

    I'm wondering what prompted the question?

    Laurie Parker

  • 5.  RE: Photo use in classroom with personal phone

    Posted 01-30-2020 08:53 AM
    That's a good question.  When I was director, the policy was clear - NO pictures of children whose faces could be identified taken by anyone.  Period.

    This can be a serious invasion of the child and family's privacy.  Let's take a scenario - the parents are together and have an issue with a family member.  This is something they would not usually tell you.  The teacher takes a picture on her phone and shares it to her own friend, who thinks it's so cute, and puts it on social media where the estranged family member sees it.  Now that family member knows where the child is and shows up at the center - just to give the child a hug and say I miss you. The child says Mommy, Aunt ___ came to my school today!!  She misses me. Why can't we go see her?  The mom is furious and she's right.

    All this is the most benign scene I can make up.  You can imagine much worse scenes.

    In the case where the program wants to use pictures for publicity, the parents know about it and sign consent forms.

    The more clear the policy, the easier to state and enforce.

    Best of luck

    Ellen Cogan, MS Ed - Owner, Chief Consultant - HILLTOP Early Childhood SERVICES
    NYS Early Learning Credentialed Trainer
    NYS Master Cadre, Pyramid Model
    Implementation Planner, Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership

  • 6.  RE: Photo use in classroom with personal phone

    Posted 01-30-2020 10:00 AM
    Although we have ipads, there are teachers who use their phones for documentation purposes only. In the beginning, we asked them to refrain from using their phones because of the perception that if your phone is out people don't know if you are on it or if you are using it for professional reasons, but some teachers are not comfortable with the size and awkwardness of the ipads. Our families fill out a form as to whether or not they allow their children's photos to be published and those are the children we use when we want to promote our center. I as an assistant director will also use my personal phone to take pictures of various events. 

    Rochelle Johnson
    Assistant Director
    College Park, MD

  • 7.  RE: Photo use in classroom with personal phone

    Posted 01-30-2020 10:25 AM
    We have a sign off for parents in the enrollment packet.  (See below)   We use daily photos to document development as well.  Each child has a photo journal that they get to keep when they leave the Center.  We are told it is a treasure!  Teachers use cameras or a personal phone to send pictures to their work emails and then photos are deleted.


    Child's Name_____________________________________ DOB_________________


    I,_________________________________________________ GRANT permission for my child to be included in any pictures, internal and external, connected with the school program, included but not limited to everyday classroom pictures, journal pictures, promotional pictures for XXXXXXXX and any other still pictures and/or videotaping by the center, teachers or any other company that is approved by the XXXX Child Development Center.

    Please note: Center policies prohibits ANY  XXXX Child Development Center staff member from posting pictures of ANY child enrolled in the center on any public social website (example: Facebook).



    I,________________________________________________ DO NOT grant permission for my child to be included in ANY of the above listed pictures.

    This will include exclusion from everyday classroom pictures and journal pictures.




    __________________________________                            _________________

    Parent/Guardian Signature                                                Date

    Bonnie Hendershot
    JHBMC Child Dev. Center
    Dundalk MD

  • 8.  RE: Photo use in classroom with personal phone

    Posted 01-30-2020 10:42 AM
    Our teachers use our personal phones to take photos of children in the classroom for documentation purposes.  We share these photos with our families through our class Shutterfly Share Sites (these are sites that are only shared with the parents of each class and are not publicly available), by printing them and putting them on bulletin boards in our school, and by printing them and putting them in children's yearly journals.  Parents sign off on how we can use their children's photos at the beginning of the year.  We do use some of the photos we take for marketing/social medial purposes if we have those permissions.  Below is the permission form we use.
    All the Best,
    Sherrie Rose

     Photo Release

    Campbell Parents Participation Preschool

    September 2019

    Child's full name:                        Date:               

    Parent/Guardian Name:                                    

    Your child's safety is the number one concern at Campbell Parents' Participation Preschool.  We understand the need to protect your children's photos from appearing on the Internet without permission or governance.

    Photo Usage including photographs, video, and digital images. PLEASE CHOOSE ONE FOR PHOTO USAGE LEVEL (Section 1) AND ONE FOR ACCESS LEVEL (Section 2)!

    Signature (pick one)

    Photo Usage Level

    I grant all rights to use my child's photos in all school projects, advertising, and promotion, including print and Internet.

    I grant limited rights to use my child's photos only in class-related activities like bulletin boards, class activities, class photo books, and art projects. This excludes advertising, promotion and publically available websites.

    I do not want any photos of my child taken and subsequently used in any manner. However, I understand that Campbell Parents' Participation Preschool cannot guarantee under any circumstances that other parents will not take and publish photos without your or the school's knowledge.

    Secure Access to Photos (how the photos will be stored and shared)

    Signature (pick one)

    Access Level

    I want my child's photos to be stored in electronic form on a password protected website (like Shutterfly) where everyone in the class has the password and the ability to share photos.  

    I want my child's photos to be stored in a folder on the class coordinator's computer for use in class-related activities such as the yearbook, and not be uploaded to a photo-sharing website. I understand that my child could appear in group photos or in the background of photos on the class photo-sharing website, but those photos will not be tagged or captioned with my child's name.

    Sherrie Rose Mayle
    Campbell Parents' Participation Preschool
    Campbell, CA

  • 9.  RE: Photo use in classroom with personal phone

    Posted 01-30-2020 12:06 PM
    We don't allow staff to take photos on their cell phones.  They use company/classroom iPads to share pics via the Homeroom app. and we still use digital cameras to document items for child portfolios (as we transition to all iPads).  I find it interesting that none of the policies mention that staff are allowed to take photos of children on their personal cell phones.  I think if families realized and understood that they might be more apt to revoke that permission.

    Kim Spankowski
    Education Director
    Grandma's House Day Care Center
    Brookfield WI

  • 10.  RE: Photo use in classroom with personal phone

    Posted 01-31-2020 09:25 AM
    Interesting to see the various strategies folks are using to meet legal obligations about sharing pictures of children. I wonder how many are also using this as an opportunity to engage children in some media literacy education by asking for the child's permission before taking a sharing a photo of them (and engaging in conversations about why permission is important, why the particular photo you want to share is a good example of the information you want to convey, or whether they'd rather have you use a different photo - perhaps one that they take). Obviously this won't apply to infants, but for children who are verbal, asking for permission to share pictures seems like an important thing to model.

    Faith Rogow
    Media Literacy Education Maven
    Insighters Education
    Ithaca NY

  • 11.  RE: Photo use in classroom with personal phone

    Posted 02-01-2020 11:15 AM
    Wow @Faith_Ro​gow what a wonderful thing to say!

          I have experienced many photo policies going from center to center, but this is such a great point. I am observing at a center currently where we have the IPads and they are the only thing that can be used and we have to email the photos to ourselves to get them off the IPads. Kinda tedious- but it also has removed the opportunity for us to discuss various forms of photography and photo technologies (phones, cameras (film and digital), IPads. In fact the IPad is treated as a "Teacher touch and look" item.

          The last center I was at was very lax with photo devices (phones, cameras, IPads - they had it all) but had a policy in place regarding no outside sharing of photos with the exception of adult classwork samples (student teachers). Photos to be shared outside the center never include children's faces. As a young observer in any center I respect that the photos will never include children's faces for my work unless there was an extremely rare occasion where I had permission from the parent - an occasion I have yet to come across as an observer.

    I love reading what everyone is saying! Thanks friends!

    Kayleigh Francis
    Ivy Tech Community College
    Indianapolis IN

  • 12.  RE: Photo use in classroom with personal phone

    Posted 02-02-2020 12:13 AM
    For those that need to transfer pictures from an iPad, it's fairly simple to access them through the iCloud.  I ran into that problem this fall.  One must have their iPad registered to the email you use to access iCloud.  I'm not an apple user so I had to learn it all this fall.  Good luck.  We have a policy no pics on personal phones.  I guarantee if parents knew someone was taking pics on a personal phone there'd be issues.

    Sarah Olson
    Alexandria MN

  • 13.  RE: Photo use in classroom with personal phone

    Posted 02-02-2020 10:03 AM
    I love the idea of using this issue as a teaching tool.  Children need to be aware of the implications of photos on the internet and how easy it is to publicize their pictures.  The earlier we start teaching the dangers, the better.
    Janet G.

    Janet Grandshaw
    San Antonio TX

  • 14.  RE: Photo use in classroom with personal phone

    Posted 02-02-2020 08:57 PM
    Hello! My center allows Lead and Assistant teachers to use their phones to photograph children. We then upload to the classroom's Google drive. We also use the photos on documentation boards throughout the school.  I'm thankful that we don't use a child care communication app! My previous center did and everything was done on iPads. It took away from teacher child interactions in my opinion. Now, I double click the camera button on my phone, photograph, and put it back down, all in a few seconds! There also isn't an expectation for daily uploads. It frees me to actually do my job. Plus, photos are fantastic on newer phones, too.
    As far as paperwork goes, we have both a photo release and a Google drive form. As a teacher, I've also been able to get permission for special projects. For instance, I had parents sign a separate release form so I could include children's work and pictures in a presentation when I guest spoke for an ECE university class. I also used a separate form to get permission to send artworks to an artist, which was great fun and got us a letter back! Most recently, parents signed off to allow photos of their children playing to be included in a Shutterfly book that educates educates on the importance of play, to be given to our district representative. All exciting stuff! Always separate form for these instances, first approved by my center, then signed by parents.
    Someone once said, teachers are professionals and should be trusted and treated as such. Trust them to follow a policy that restricts their phone use. Phones are the best documentation tools around!
    I will say this: check with your licenser. Best of luck!

    Allison Conrady
    Fredericksbrg VA

  • 15.  RE: Photo use in classroom with personal phone

    Posted 02-03-2020 12:35 PM
    We do not all personal cell phones in the classrooms. Unfortunately we had an incident where an assistant teacher posted a picture of one of our children on her Instagram account using her personal cell phone.  Totally against policy....

    At our Center each classroom has a mobile phone with number assigned to the classroom.   This enables parents to directly communicate with the staff, understanding that response time is dependent on the activity in the classroom at the time.  The phones have voice mail and text capability.  We use the Kaymbu communication system with our parents which enables the teaching staff to communicate, via email to parents with daily notes and photos and or videos of the day.  The program has proven to be an invaluable communication tool for our families.

    It also puts the pictures/videos in the hands of the parents/guardians who then can share them with family/friends who may have an interest.

    Luellen Matthews, MPA
    Arlington, VA