Featured Article Congrats to our friends at Little Airplane Productions for the great New Yorker spotlight! You guys continue to pave the way, making amazing children's programming.
-Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker
Every parent wants to do what’s best for their kids- give them everything they deserve and shelter them from everything that might hurt them. For over sixty years, parents, media critics, and the like have been jumping on the chance to blame television for its harmful effects on children’s attention spans, weight, and communication skills. But in recent years, children’s television has grown to become something other than responsible for turning your kids’ brains to mush: it can be educational. Developed by Little Airplane Productions (namely Josh Selig), “Wonder Pets” teaches kids about the rest of the globe, the stuff that goes on outside of their small, small worlds. It is interactive and repetitious, which is great for captivating kids, but allows them to take joy in slight variations, always surprised at what the change will be. “Ni Hao, Kai-Lan” takes it one step further: it teaches kids social skills rather than analytical thinking. There’s a focus on perseverance and emotional stability, encouraging kids through song. And then there’s “Phinneas and Ferb,” which is in a different breed altogether. With timely precision, this show follows a formulaic plotline, capturing kids with its predictable procedure. However, it doesn’t forget about the parent who can appreciate the “wit and narrative daring of the series” while sitting besides the child.
Shows like these do something different from other children’s TV- they embrace the medium they inhabit, taking full advantage of its strengths and constraints and reaching out to kids through their love for connection and interaction, all the while keeping the parent in mind as well to create that power team of co-viewing that is so important for social and cognitive development. If your kids are going to be watching TV, it might as well be developmentally progressive, and you might as well watch it with them.
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A reminder that quality education stems from good teachers and teaching practices, high-tech classrooms or not.
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