What is an educational film?

What do films teach children?
Can children learn things from films that aren't meant to be educational?

The educational objectives of film and its use in the classroom

Deciding why and how to use a film with students is the first step in choosing a film for children.
Do you want to introduce children to image techniques? Stimulate their artistic sense? Enrich a subject being studied in class?

What is an educational film?

First, documentary films, as well as films based on fiction, may be very instructive due to their informational content. They allow children to discover new universes or even see something they already know in a new light.

In documentaries – whether they're about animals, the earth or even history, geography, science, music or colors – you can find many great educational films online.

Educational film, How to teach geography to children? © CalArts. Short film for children directed by Seth Boyden: An Object at Rest.

If you're searching for a free educational film or an original educational film as a parent or a teacher, you can find many intelligent short films for children on the France TV site.
See something we already know in a new light
A quality documentary or educational film raises youth awareness about issues that are difficult to address in the classroom with students. How do you teach kids about racism and discrimination? How do you talk about handicaps?

In this context, educational films allow you to communicate difficult messages in an indirect and light-hearted way.

Educational toys about disability at school © Olivier Defaye. Educational toys about disability.

Films can also be used to introduce children to image and sound techniques. However, we most often hear people talk about films in terms of analysis because films can be an excellent teaching tool that allows children to learn while analyzing a film's elements, themes, stories, characters and narrative techniques.
Create an educational environment and a teaching tool
There are also many free educational materials and teaching tools that give teachers interesting options for using cinema in the classroom, such as ARTE and the Canopé network (films for primary and high school students. Analyzing films is fascinating but, we try not to analyze films from this perspective.

How to stimulate children's creativity? © ONF. Boogie-Doodle directed by Norman McLaren, 1941.

What we find interesting about our selection of films for children is that it brings together a number of poetic and original films whose quality and diversity create an educational environment and a teaching tool that can be used by teachers and parents.

What does a film program teach children?

Every film gives children a way to see the world from another person's viewpoint – the producer's. Offering diverse films, themes, messages and visual universes is important to a child's education because it helps develop tastes.



Thematic programs of films © Christophe Defaye. Public screening

Offering diverse films, themes, messages and visual universes is important to a child's education because it helps develop tastes.Films also allow kids, from a young age, to have personal opinions and to know what they like and don't like.

Over the course of a child's intellectual development, children begin to distinguish between the external world and their imagination and to build their own vision of the world through their real-life experience with things, including scientific and artistic representations of those things.
See the world from another perspective
Later, after being immersed in the vision and style of different creators, a child may himself want to create his own representation or simply have his own vision of the world.
Stimulate artistic and cultural development
When we interact with children in a kindergarten class, we realize how much each child is different.And yet, adults all tend to be alike. Today, the reign of feature films (a restrictive format), the uniformity of scripts and visual characters in blockbuster films and stereotypical heros prevent children from discovering different universes.

It's as if we're only playing nursery rhymes for our children; it would be a shame to not allow them to discover other musical genres starting at a young age.

The most appropriate films for educating children?

Short films are very appropriate for children under the age of six because they are able to capture their attention. The diverse and original universes of short films, a far cry from any stereotype, create wonder in children and stimulate their artistic and cultural development.

Films that address topics that children study in school are just as effective as other teaching materials. They see the world from another perspective and provide teachers with a new tool to enrich their lessons.

Film suitable for children's education © Cube Creative. Short film directed by Nicolas Deveaux : 5 mètres 80.

Integrating and using films in the classroom stimulate young children's imagination and artistic awareness.
Contribute to artistic practices
By piquing children's interest in other forms of visual expression such as drawing, sculpture and dance, films encourage artistic practices in the classroom.

However, they can also be used in other fields of learning such as civic and moral education or discovery of the living world.

With this in mind, we have created thematic short film programs for kindergarten classes, as well as thematic animated film programs for schools in general, ranging from dance and music to ecology, the forest and water.
Contact us

Teachers'opinions and parental control are important for children. Share your opinion about quality films for children and help us find the best educational short films!
Would you like to write a review about kids movies? Have you recently discovered an original educational film or educational video for kindergarten children?
Do you know of online resources, teaching materials or free educational materials? Are you a director or producer? Would you like to share an educational animated film or a free educational film?
Are you a teacher with students younger than 6? Help us to find educational films online and to create educational animated film programs for elementary schools.