One of my passions and what I talk about a lot here is educating my son. I read an interesting article on www.education.com about Must See TV for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners. I have my opinions about the shows and wanted to share them with you.
For Preschoolers, they recommend:
- Super Why This show lays the groundwork for reading success, by teaching key early literacy skills like the alphabet and phonemic awareness. The characters in this program speak directly to the viewers: asking kids to help them, giving them an opportunity to respond, then providing feedback. This is a powerful way of actively involving kids in the learning process.
- WordWorld This colorful, delightful series literally brings words to life –every character, place, and object is formed out of the letters that make up its name. It helps preschoolers recognize letters and understand how they form words, starting them on the path to literacy.
- Blues Clues and Dora the Explorer (not the pre-teen version) Both of these programs use the same type of format as Super Why. They are narrative, with plots and characters to follow. Watching these shows helps kids learn to sequence and tell stories. Research into these programs has shown that kids not only learn the content from each episode, but that they also transfer that specific learning to their daily lives, once the tv is off.
- Zooboomafoo “I just love this program. I have found that kids’ vocabulary scores go up when watching programs like this,” Linebarger says. The hosts, the Kratt brothers, speak directly to kids and make it really fun to learn about animals and model positive social behaviors. The education portion of the show is really focused on building kids’ conceptual knowledge…which is key for preschoolers.
- Sesame Street “There’s a reason Sesame Street is a perennial favorite,” Bozdech says. It teaches kids about a wide variety of subjects, from Spanish to sharing, and has some of the most appealing characters in kids’ TV (who doesn’t love Muppets?). And its dash of irreverence makes it fun for parents, too.
- Sid the Science Kid “What I like about the show is that it accurately portrays preschool, does a great job of breaking down the scientific method and explaining it, and focuses on writing and documenting what you observe daily. It also captures the enthusiasm for learning that is typical of this age group,” Linebarger says. And, it’s all done in a narrative context, which makes it easier for preschoolers to learn the science content, since it’s embedded in a story.
- Reading Rainbow Reading Rainbow not only encourages reading but brings wonderful kids’ books to its young viewers’ attention. Plus, it goes beyond the page, taking kids further into the subjects brought up in the featured stories with documentary-style investigations on everything from trains to slavery. Bozdech gives it a thumbs up.
- Little Einsteins “Both artistic and educational, Little Einsteins grabs kids’ attention with its characters’ exciting adventures– and teaches them something at the same time,” Bozdech says. Kids who watch learn about everything from classical music to art to photography — plus teamwork and problem-solving
For kindergarteners, they recommend:
- New Electric Company Just like the ’70s classic, PBS’ new version of The Electric Company teaches reading skills like phonics, grammar, and spelling in an upbeat, engaging way. The storylines are funny and kid-friendly, partly disguising the fact that kids are learning real English lessons as they watch.
- Arthur This program uses a narrative style and focuses on positive social interaction, as well as school-based learning, motivation, enthusiasm, and conflict resolution. Each episode is actually composed of two short stories averaging about 11-12 minutes each, with a short segment in between that links the two stories. Kids work on comprehension skills by having to keep track of both plots and link the two stories together, Linebarger says.
- Between the Lions This show focuses on early literacy skills and conventional reading skills including decoding words, understanding silent e, blending and segmenting words, and different types of print (like poems, stories, or web pages). This program has been extensively studied. In fact, Linebarger has done extensive research on it herself! “Kids love it, and research shows that it also teaches key skills that help kids on the path to independent reading,” she says.
- Magic School Bus This narrative-based show lets kids jump inside the goings-on of science. It’s a great example of tying a story to the actual educational content. In order to progress the story, they might have to become raindrops, for example.
- Cyberchase Cyberchase blends adventure and learning, with the characters finding out things about real-life skills (like map reading) as they work to protect the land of “Cyberspace.” Because it deals with computers and digital media, it has particular relevance in today’s world.
- In addition to teaching kids lots of great new vocabulary words, this show features a wonderful female role model for girls. Becky/WordGirl is smart and resourceful, preferring to defeat villains with words instead of violence.
We have watched almost all of these t.v. shows on a regular basis but the ones that I feel are the best are:
Arthur– teaches practical everyday lessons that will supplement parental teaching
Little Einsteins– teaches a love for the arts and builds creativity
Sid The Science Kid– helps kids to explore and learn critical thinking skills
Word World– teaches how to put letters together to make words and is very creative in story telling
What are some of your favorite shows for your children to watch?