Guiding Preschoolers through the Aftermath of a Storm by Angela Santomero
~:: by Angela Santomero of Angela’s Clues ::~
After Hurricane Sandy, it was so important to find a way to talk about powerful storms that have, unfortunately, continued to wreck havoc all over the world. So, as I always do when I have something I want to say to preschoolers and parents, I write.
I wrote a Daniel episode, with my amazing writing team at Out Of the Blue Ent., that deals with how a big storm could wreck havoc on a Neighborhood. We wrote carefully to make sure that we wouldn’t scare preschoolers, but give them information. The information is broken down into three parts – which is how I would talk to my own kids about a situation:
(1) What happened: We use clear and concise language that respects kids and talks to them at their level – not beyond and not below.
(2) How the event affects them: We show the damage as it affects their world, personally. If the lights go out, what does that mean for kids? If the playground is a mess…then what?
(3) Give preschoolers something to do to help: Preschoolers want to help. Giving them a way to help the problem, makes them feel safe, secure, and confident that everything will be okay. They can be flashlight helpers or they can help clean up.
The Neighborhood Clean Up episode airs on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood this April.
Neighborhood Clean Up is about a how a giant wind storm has made a mess of the Neighborhood. Mom and Dad explain this to Daniel in a very clear and concise way as we show some leaves still blowing around. We take the trolley to the playground with some of Daniel’s friends. But when they get there, they notice that trash, debris, and leaves are all over the playground. They can’t play! Showing the damage in this context helps preschoolers to see how it affects them, personally, making it even more salient. We decide that we must clean up the playground so that they can play!
We have a very catchy, very fun, new clean up song (yes, it totally rivals Barney’s old one!) Clean up, pick up, put away, clean up every day! Adults and kids work together to help restore the playground by throwing out and recycling the trash. They celebrate with a little picnic in the playground (and remember to clean that up, too!). King Friday is so pleased that he announces this day as the first annual Neighborhood Clean Up Day. Hurray!
We hope to inspire kids to clean up at home, at school, on the playground, and when they are out and about in their neighborhoods. We wanted to show the importance of cleaning up every day and how working together makes things a little easier. Our mission is to empower, challenge and build the self esteem of preschoolers (all while making them laugh). So, if everyone cleans up one thing after watching our episode, we will be happy!
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ABOUT ANGELA: Angela has been changing the way children watch TV for over 15 years. She is a Founding Partner & Chief Creative Officer of Out of the Blue Enterprises LLC, overseeing all creative development with the vision to bring educational entertainment to a whole new level.
Angela Santomero is the Lead Creator, Executive Producer and Head Writer for Nick Jr.’s landmark preschool show Blue’s Clues. Malcolm Gladwell referred to it as “One of the stickiest TV shows EVER made” in his book, The Tipping Point. Her ability to integrate education, entertainment & active participation helped make Blue’s Clues a breakthrough program. Currently, Angela is the Creator, Executive Producer & Head Writer of the Emmy-nominated and #1 ranked preschool show, Super Why!, which helps build literacy skills through fractured fairy tales & interactive games. She recently unveiled her latest, (the Mister Rogers’ spin off) Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood this week. She presently hosts PBS’ The Parent Show at PBSparents.org.
Angela is a Peabody Award Winner for Outstanding Children’s Programming, a Gold & Silver Parents Choice Awards recipient & has been nominated for over 35 Emmy Awards. Her blog, AngelasClues.com, approaches Parenting from her vantage point as a successful childrens’ media creator, to assist parents with the most important job of all!
This original post was written for Bonbon Break Media, LLC by Angela Santomero of Angela’s Clues
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