Visual Arts

Carol MacKay uses photographs to illustrate the importance of preschool

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"I think any more preschool is really the beginning of a child's formal education," says Jennifer Landrum, president and CEO of the Denver Preschool Program, a sales tax-funded initiative promoting access to high-quality preschool for all local children, regardless of socio-economic status. "This exhibit of thirty photographs offers a compelling visual story of why preschool is important to a child's future." Carol MacKay was one of five photographers who visited area preschools in order to capture the preschool experience, helping to create an exhibit that profiles four-year-olds during the 2012-2013 school year and illustrates how early childhood education "lays the academic foundation for language arts, math and science while nurturing social skills and emotional literacy," as Landrum puts it. A former chemistry teacher, MacKay is now a staff photographer for Kent Denver School and owner of Carol MacKay Photography. Her contribution to The Power of Preschool offers a glimpse into the lives of children at Temple Emanuel Early Childhood Center.

"Kids love being engaged and interested, involved, et cetera," says MacKay. "There's nothing kids like less than being bored." During her time at Temple Emanuel, MacKay was impressed by how engaged and involved the children were. "It's a wonderful preschool, and I could feel the kindness and trust of the teachers," she continues. "The kids felt comfortable interacting, moving around, doing things."

"I think capturing moments in time is precious, says MacKay, who rediscovered her passion for photography after her daughter was murdered; in the wake of the tragedy, she took time off from teaching and picked up a camera.

"I haven't been doing this for very long," she notes. "I'm a teacher who picked up a camera."

But what MacKay lacks in long-term training she easily makes up for in talent; she has an innate ability to capture movement -- and more. "What I'd like to hear," she says, "Is that I can capture expression -- what people are really thinking." Keep reading for more photographs by Carol MacKay
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Jamie Siebrase is a Denver-based freelance writer, and author of the forthcoming Falcon Guide Hiking Wth Kids, Colorado: 52 Great Hikes for Families.
Contact: Jamie Siebrase