Berlin is a fantastic, vibrant city. A melting pot of cultures, people from all over the world bond here over what a dynamic place it is. Many internationals that come here have children, and given that English is pretty much the linga franca these days, well, starting them young with English is important.
Enter: Mala’s Playhaus
Mala is an Australian woman that I met early on in my arrival here. We hit it off right away. Through chatting about what we each do it became clear that her business Mala’s Playhaus has reached a certain point in its development and maturity. Mala’s Playhaus teaches English to children through drama and music. It sounded to me like it was time to capture what goes on inside Mala’s Playhaus, for the benefit of the current parents that send their children to her, and for new, prospective parents to gain some insights.
Before I shoot I always sit with a new business and ask a series of questions. From there, images start to form in my mind that describe the unique experience of that business. In Mala’s case, it became clear that Mala’s Playhaus is about so much more than just improving the children’s English skills. It’s actually about giving them a safe, fun environment in which their confidence grows under the nurturing guidance of Mala. Mala said, the reason I do this is because I want to make a difference. Yes, Mala, you certainly do.
Mala prepares for her 45 minute class.
Each class is carefully planned according to the children that will be coming and their current level of knowledge and ability with English.
Everyone gathers around before class starts.
They have a little catch up and read a book together.
My approach to shooting this?
Capture the experience from the child’s perspective.
I love this image…how happy and safe does this little girl look!?
Then the fun starts…I mean, the first exercise.
A little bit of India enters the room with the Bollywood dance.
Everybody is up, listening and moving to the music.
It’s an active class, not a moment is wasted.
The children love Mala because she gives them so much encouragement and kindness as she teaches them the moves.
Which animal are you?
A biiiiiiiig giraffe!
I love the little creature in the yellow dress, a big smile planted across her dial as she freezes.
Children are to die for.
They listen so intently and their expressions are so delightful!
Back to Mala.
She’s showing different emotions here…
Show me how you look…surprised…angry… happy!
More animals – they move like a school of fish!
And they all jostle for position next to Mala.
In close again…everybody is listening?
She holds their attention beautifully.
A little brother-and-sister detail I couldn’t resist.
Time for a story.
Have you got your reading glasses on?
Mala reads the story and articulates every word carefully and clearly.
It’s time for them to watch and listen to her speak.
Then it’s time for scarves.
Each child pulls one out, and gets their own colour.
The soft, silkiness of the scarves is a hit.
They throw the scarf in the air and see if they can catch it on their arm, their knee, their face.
One more chat together in the circle.
A very animated discussion takes place!
Mala sure has their attention.
Everyone takes home a lovely hug and a stamp at the end.
This before and after image shows you the ‘look and feel’ that I achieved in the images.
Mala’s business is all about a bright, happy experience, so keeping the colour was essential.
It’s about children, so the colour palette is light, happy and soft.
I captured 349 moments and crafted Mala’s story to 49…she loved them!!
Thank you to all the children that were photographed here in this Mala’s Playhaus class. And thank you to all the parents that so happily allowed us to capture what goes on. The images here are an authentic reflection of a normal class, nothing was changed for the purpose of the photography.
I think if I was a parent sending my child to Mala’s Playhaus, I would feel at ease and confident that my child was gaining a lot more than just improvement in their English skills. New friends, greater confidence, fun…the list is long.
Mala good luck to you, I think Mala’s Playhaus will go a very long way!!
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