DISCLAIMER: If this whole notion seems very antiquated to you or impossible to effect OR too liberal, my apologies in advance. In other words, the more real, the better, allowing children to put themselves inside the films in a far more empowering way. ADDITIONAL NOTE: You will notice that animated films are left out of the list so far. The longer films we often watched over two or three nights. My goal was to watch one of my favorite films, The Sound of Music (1965), with her but not before she’d experienced far older and simpler films – all of which lead up to and inform the newer ones. These early films are short and all silent (Modern Times has sound effects and the the first words Chaplin ever spoke on film). These are our faves so far. It’s certainly not easy to raise children and everyone has different home cultures, but I’ve just found that this works well for our home. While my eight-year-old daughter doesn’t play with computers or watch television at home, I’ve been introducing her to a curated collection of films very slowly and exposing her to the whole history of moving pictures in a way that mirrors her own growth and understanding a little more closely. The amount of information and stimulation pushed through a film these days is, in my mind, not really suitable for young children. When we finally watched TSoM two Christmases ago, we broke it up into three evenings
She’s going to eventually see a lot of stuff on the screen (at friends’ houses usually) and I’d like to give her a really good background in where all these things come from so that she can navigate it in a really strong way. While they were certainly super popular and attractive to children, I believe that human based films are far better for young children. As I’ve looked around, I’ve found some particularly good ones that I wanted to list, and which I’ll keep adding to. If you have any recommendations, please add them in the comments. I think it’s very special if you can give your child the opportunity to literally grow with and enjoy film as it developed over the past hundred years. The concept here is that children should be educated in all things by starting at the very beginning as that is the place where their own development most closely mirrors what they’re looking at. If you introduce children to forms that are too sophisticated for them at too early of an age, they will digest it poorly and lose the ability or the appetite to understand and enjoy earlier, simpler forms. What has been amazing to watch in my daughter is her incredible patience and enjoyment of the very old films. We started with the oldest films I could find, which are silent and then moved into the talkies of the 1930’s.