Press release: Dream Catcher project uses digital technology to connect children’s learning


The use of digital photos and video can provide young children with a powerful medium to express their voice, as well as facilitating valuable three-way interactions between a child, their home and their early years setting, says education innovator Futurelab (

 A new video exploring the early development of Dream Catcher, a prototype project which aims to build these communications bridges was launched this week at

 Based on an original concept from Isaacs UK, the early years creative learning consultancy (, Dream Catcher aims to capture young children’s ideas and interests by using child-friendly technologies to record things that are important to them. Each short recording forms the starting point for shared discussions with the parent, carer or other adults in the child’s life, opening up powerful channels of shared communication between families, friends, and early years professionals. Futurelab’s findings are the result of a research project where children used PDAs and digital cameras to capture their experiences both in and out of their early years settings. The research explored how digital technologies could support children’s informal learning, facilitate ‘child voice’ and build bridges between the children’s homes and early years settings.       

 The Dream Catcher project showed how children sharing recordings from home could help practitioners learn more about the children in their care, find out more about their home life and better understand their broader cultural contexts. Parents also gained insights into their children’s experiences at their early years settings during the day – discovering much more by talking to their children about their photos and videos than by asking them what they had been doing today.

Parents and practitioners felt that the immediacy of the images children captured were useful in providing a tool to help children remember and connect their learning between environments. Lyndsay Grant, Learning Researcher at Futurelab, commented: “Dream Catcher facilitates the expression of child voice as it supports children to develop their ideas of what it is they want to say and express. Dream Catcher helps to make their learning more visible – for young children themselves, for parents and for practitioners. By giving children control over what they choose to record and say about their ideas, projects such as Dream Catcher can support child-centred learning in both early years settings and homes.  It may also provide a vehicle for parents and professionals to discover more about children’s informal learning within and outside specific educational settings.”

Ruth Churchill Dower, Director of Isaacs UK, said: “We developed the concept to help increase positive communications between children, their parents and early years professionals. Dream Catcher is a process which helps to bring them closer together, using children’s ideas as the starting point. It especially helps parents understand how much informal learning happens through play and how to better understand and nurture their child’s potential. We have had really positive feedback from both parents and professionals involved in this project, who found that Dream Catcher helped them to listen more closely to what their children are saying.”

Further information on Isaacs UK and Futurelab’s Dream Catcher research including video footage can be viewed at

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