For this post I will be focusing on evaluating digital learning resources. Digital learning resources include things such as television programs and DVD’s. These five items I would recommend to any first-time parent to enhance the rapid brain development of a child ages 0-4. The first item I will examine is the classical program of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood began in 1963. The series is aimed primarily at preschool ages 2 to 5, but has been stated by PBS as “appropriate for all ages”. According to the shows information page, “All through the series we include traditional “tools” for learning ABC’s, numbers, letters, colors, and basic concepts. They’re offered in a way that children can see that reading, writing, and counting are helpful, interesting, and fun, so they’ll want to learn those skills.
Just as importantly, the programs foster the social and emotional “tools” for learning self-esteem, curiosity, self-control, the ability to pay attention, to handle mistakes, and deal with anger. Children are more able to use their energies for learning if they feel good about themselves, can deal with their feelings, and get along with others.”
Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood is a program for children that can withstand the test of time. The skills children were exposed to in 1963 continue to be skills that young children today need in order to foster their brain development. Below is a list of child development principles that creator Fred Rogers based the television series on.
- The ability to deal with their feelings
- Curiosity about their world
- Appreciation of diversity
- Tolerance for waiting
- Ability to handle rules and limits
With his soft, calm, welcoming voice and masterful way of including the television viewer in the visit, Mr. Rogers’ continues to be a program that all early learners should view, enjoy and learn from. Each independent PBS station decides the time the program airs so you should check your local listings for times.
If you and your little ones want to watch a newer program on television that promotes early learning and literacy you can try The Backyardigans. “The Backyardigans is an animated musical-adventure series for children ages 2 to 5. In each episode, the show’s five high-spirited preschool friends–Uniqua, Pablo, Tyrone, Tasha, and Austin–rely on their vivid imaginations to transform their backyard into a fantastical 3-D landscape, and together they embark on amazing epic journeys.
These lovable characters will inspire children to sing and dance along, and to stretch their imaginations as they climb up mountains, slide down glaciers, and sail across oceans. Each episode is driven by an exciting, age-appropriate story and enlivened by original music–including big band, reggae, rockabilly, bossa nova, and hip-hop–and by professionally choreographed dance numbers.”
The show airs on the Nickelodeon channel during their Nick Jr. programming aimed at pre-school aged children. Music is a key component in the program and helps to promote singing and dancing and stretching their imaginations. Children as young as 9 months old love this show and can clap to the music and begin to recognize the main characters during each episode. For older pre-schoolers they follow the cast as they navigate their way through a daily task. The beginning and the ending of the show feature the same music in each episode so don’t be surprised if your little ones are singing along and begging you to join in. Below is a link to the shows website for you to explore and even print out activities to do with your kids.
The Baby Einstein products are the third item for today’s blog. “Baby Einstein offers a wide range of developmental and entertainment products for babies and toddlers. What makes Baby Einstein products unlike any other is that they are created from a baby’s point-of-view and incorporate a unique combination of real world objects, music, art, animals and nature – providing you with a fun way to introduce your baby to the big, beautiful new world around him.”
Baby Einstein keeps early learning and brain development of children in mind when creating their products and has won several awards for their focus. Here are a few awards they have won recently
Baby Einstein has built its reputation on creating developmentally and age appropriate content that parents know they can trust. In support of interaction beginning at a very early age, they recommend:
|WATCH TOGETHER. Baby Einstein DVDs are designed to inspire parent-child interaction and to make a parent’s active participation easy. By using the DVD like a “hands-free” book and simply pointing to or naming objects on the screen, parents will open a whole new world of discovery for baby. The difference is that you make up the story.|
|LISTEN TOGETHER. One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to share time together is to listen to or make music. No matter what the preferred genre is, music is enjoyed by all generations, cultures, and geographies. When you listen to a Baby Einstein CD, clap, dance, or sing with baby – it will make the listening experience fun for both of you.|
|TALK and READ TOGETHER. Not only do conversations and story-time foster language development and communication, they stimulate a child’s imagination. The more words a child hears, the more he or she can begin to express feelings, name objects, and respond to you with sounds that will soon become words. The Baby Einstein books are designed for lap time and cuddle time when you and your baby can talk about each picture.|
Baby Einstein products are a must for all new parents. I personally used their Baby Mozart DVD’s and CD’s with my nephew from the moment he was born. His Mom was like all new Mom’s, tired, overwhelmed and needed a break. I purchased the Baby Mozart items and not only did they soothe my fussy nephew, my sister loved the music and was able to nurse while listening to the CD or watching the DVD. As my nephew has grown and is now a bustling 4 year old he continues to love the Baby Einstein products and the time he and his Mom spend together learning.
Baby Einsteing Website Link: http://www.babyeinstein.com/home/
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is a new program on PBS that was created with one of Fred Rogers’ favorite friends Daniel Tiger. The program is aimed at children ages 2-4.
“Each episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood consists of two engaging stories that center on a common early learning theme such as dealing with disappointment. One of the key ingredients that sets the new series apart is its groundbreaking use of catchy, musical strategies that reinforce each theme and that preschoolers and parents will both sing – and use – together in their daily lives.
The series’ stories were written based on extensive input from a wide range of early learning specialists, formative research with children and the benefit of more than 40 years of the work of Fred Rogers. It all adds up to a powerful tool for parents: an entertaining and thoughtful guide for today’s families that integrates music, interactivity and a research-based curriculum.”
I have watched several episodes of this show with my niece who is 2 and it is a wonderful program that is visually engaging and beautiful. The program addresses the following early learning concepts.
Child Development Strategies
With Daniel Tiger as our guide, the series offers a fun, safe place for young children to explore their ever-expanding world, and teaches them developmentally appropriate pro-social strategies. Each episode has one social-emotional theme, explored in a way that’s relatable and generalizable, but never preachy. Examples of the theme are repeated more than once in different situations, to ensure comprehension.
Music plays an important role in the series, as it did in the original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Daniel is an expressive, artistic and imaginative character, and music highlights his fantasy life. In each episode he has an “imagination moment” where he plays out a fun preschool fantasy set to music. For instance, on a picnic, he wonders what it would be like to be as small as the ants! The singable, repeatable strategies taught in the series are reprised in a full song at the end of each story – a fun and useful take-away for kids and grownups.
The final recommendation I have for you today is The Brainy Baby Early Discovery Collection DVD. The DVD set is comprised of 3 DVD’s which totals over three hours of learning for your child. The video collection is for infants and toddlers and includes, Right Brain, Left Brain, Peek-A-Boo, and Laugh & Discover (formerly Laugh & Learn).
The Brainy Baby has a vision of, “helping young children develop a love of learning for a lifetime.” I
To differentiate Brainy Baby products in the marketplace, Brainy Baby specializes in products that bring the learning experience to life by uniting three key elements:
1. A rigorous, proven learning methodology
2. Compelling, multi-layered content
3. Intuitive, engaging delivery of the content and learning experience
“The Brainy Company combines these three key elements to create a unique learning experience for young children that has earned us more than 75 awards to date.”
“Brainy Baby products are different because they introduce infant and preschool subject matter with the use of real children, familiar objects, bright colors, and friendly, encouraging voices and music. We know every child learns differently and through a variety of experiences. The DVDs are specially paced, using small segments with a teach, repeat, review method. Brainy Baby videos are purposely designed to be viewed in these short segments instead of traditional “start-to-finish” story lines.” I have used many of these DVDs and CD’s with my own child and I would recommend these to all parents who want to give their infants and toddlers a good start in their learning and brain development.