Communicating with children

Early years

The Magic Journey/Keremet Koch Animated television series, first broadcast in 2006, produced by Kyrgyz Television and Radio Corporation (NTRC) with assistance from UNICEF Kyrgyzstan (first children’s production in local Kyrgyz language, also broadcast in Turkey through Turkish Radio and Television (TRT), reaching 250 million people from the Balkans to China)

Traditional characters, Akylai and Aktan, together with a cast of extended family members and a diverse set of friends, invite children to learn about topics as varied as school-preparedness skills, positive gender roles, dealing with emotions in healthy ways, and health/hygiene habits. Queen’s University’s School of Education in Belfast, Ireland, has just completed a research study with both qualitative and quantitative components (13).

A Formative Evaluation of Keremet Koch, Queens University, Belfast.

Themes: school preparedness, health, child protection, gender equality, inclusion, resilience

 


Tsehai Loves Learning
Low-budget television series for young children, 2005, produced by Whiz Kids Workshop in Ethiopia

Low-Low-cost puppets and simple animation used to present topics ranging from the loss of a parent, gender, caring for the environment, difficult emotions, early learning and personal values in Amharic language, depicting local Ethiopian culture. Some formative evaluation of comprehension prior to broadcast. Awards include Prix Jeunesse and Japan Prize. <www.tsehai.com>

Themes: child survival and development, basic education, gender equality, HIV/AIDS, child protection


 

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood - Television series for preschoolers, first broadcast in 1971, produced by Family Communications, Inc., USA

One of the first children’s series to tackle sensitive issues in child-appropriate ways, including illness, divorce, death, disability, diversity, wide range of fears and emotions. Focus on building self-confidence of every child, including the most disadvantaged and marginalized. Several research studies available on series. Reruns and FCI website used as model for “safe haven” communication for children since inception (FCI develops projects in variety of media, trains caregivers, others working with young children on variety of issues affecting families). <www.fci.org>

Themes: child protection, health, disability, conflict resolution

 

1,2,3,4 Animated television spot, 2006, produced for UNICEF Myanmar 

Story of young girl walking to local market, singing, counting and naming animals, fruits and vegetables, encouraged and praised by nurturing father. Repetitive format, catchy song, simple innovative animation, model of child-friendly learning and developmentally appropriate communication.

Themes: holistic early child development, nutrition, school preparedness, gender equality, responsive caregiving

 

Elliot the Budgie  Animation episode from BBC/CBeebies series “3rd and Bird”, 2008, Little Airplane Productions, USA

 

Story of Elliot the worm, who wants to join “The Budgies” scouting group with motto: “never give up”, and rule: “only birds allowed”. Elliot and bird friends exemplify “never give up” through perseverance, healthy social skills. Elliot’s “difference” does not make a difference, becomes a Budgie, and breaks a barrier for others to follow. All series scripts pre-tested with young children for attention, appeal and comprehension. <www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00r4xfz>

 

Themes: diversity, resilience

 

 

Cultural Diversity Animated television spot, 2008, developed at capacity-building workshop supported by UNICEF Kyrgyzstan

 

Story with song of the sun playing “hide-and-seek” with children of different races and abilities from around the world. Child with curly hair hides behind curly haired sheep; girl who is blind hides behind curtain; child with white hat hides behind mountain cap of snow, etc. Song about all children playing together, each one important and valued.

 

Themes: child protection, diversity, disability

 

    

Medine - Book, 2009, produced at capacity-building workshop supported by UNICEF Turkmenistan

 

Story of a young girl and her grandfather who want to go fishing, but first make preparations so as not to get bitten by mosquitoes: They put on lotion, wear long-sleeved clothes and are careful not to walk on puddles of water. When they return and eat the delicious fish they caught, they fall asleep under a mosquito net and pretend they are sailing on the beautiful seas.

Download Book

 

Themes: health, gender equality

     
     

Remembering Mommy - Book for preschool and school-age children, 2006, developed at capacity-building workshop supported by UNICEF South Africa, published for First Words in Print by New Africa Books, Ltd., SA

Communication for orphans and vulnerable children introducing the topic of death of a parent in a child-friendly, culturally appropriate way: includes several examples of how a young girl and boy miss their mother, and how their father, teacher, grandmother and other children are there to comfort them when they grieve. A model for sharing memories and maintaining routines that support children who experience loss or death; and a model for local adaptation to introduce topics such as illness, death, trauma, emergency and other difficult circumstances. Download Book

 

Themes: child protection, HIV/AIDS, emergencies, resilience

     
 
   

Thar Thar Takes a Bath - Book for children in emergencies, 2005, developed at a capacity-building workshop supported by UNICEF Myanmar

Developed to address communication for children who experienced the Asian Tsunami, it shows a child who fears taking a bath and how a nurturing and responsive mother uses play and imagination to help her child overcome his fear. Formative research on interest and comprehension with young children was conducted prior to final production.  Download book

 

Themes: holistic early child development, emergencies, child protection

 
     
      

My Mommy, My Blanket - Book, produced in 2010 at a capacity-building workshop supported by UNICEF Lesotho

 

Story told from a preschool child about her mother – who happens to be deaf. Using the traditional Lesotho wool “blanket”, she shares a poem about her mother’s warmth, care, humour and love. The book is an example of ensuring that, while presenting and promoting the confidence of caregivers, those with disabilities are also included. Download book

 

Themes: early child development, child protection, disability

     


13. Eakin, A. and Connolly, P. (2011). A Formative Evaluation of the Animated Children’s Television Series Magic Journey, Kyrgyzstan, Belfast: Centre for Effective Education, Queen’s University, Belfast.

 

 

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