I don’t generally recommend young children learn by watching television but I am human and like the rest of us appreciate a bit of respite from time to time. Now that my 3 year old no longer naps during the day, after a busy morning at playgroup an hour watching television helps her to relax. I don’t agree with young children watching commercial channels so always put my trust in CBeebies.
The quality of the early learning programming is generally of a high standard and well researched, we particularly like Something Special and Driver Dan’s Storytrain (especially as we are on the lookout for the episodes featuring her big sister).
At the end of February CBeebies are launching a new cluster of programming entitled Love to Learn. This will bring together a number of programmes, which are designed to give the younger members of the CBeebies audience an introduction to literacy and numeracy. Programmes will include the new shows, Numtums and The Lingo Show, alongside new episodes of established favourites Alphablocks and Abadas. These programmes will be scheduled together allowing children to have fun while they learn their letters and get to know their numbers.
The Numtums are cuddly Numbats (rare marsupial, native to Western Australia) each with a number on their tummy. Combining a troop of animated Numtums, children, sing-along songs and a distinctive, mixed-media style, the programme introduces the basics of number recognition and then gently moves on to counting objects and identifying amounts in a variety of fun scenarios. The series is reminiscent of the animated snippets that were a key feature of my favourite children’s programme, Sesame Street. I’m sure these will keep the children engaged and make learning fun.
I’m really looking forward to The Lingo Show . This began life a year ago as an online brand to introduce children to a variety of languages. It is a long time since I visited the CBeebies website, so I wasn’t aware it existed but I was very excited to see that the languages featured include Welsh. Growing up in Wales I have a very basic knowledge of the Welsh language, but my children were captivated. My 7 year old even wrote down a list of words to remember ( we looked at the food section). The variety of languages featured include Polish, Somali and Punjabi and this could be a really useful resource for nursery workers to learn basic vocabulary when teaching children with an additional language. The TV series will continue to introduce children to words in different languages – specifically French, Spanish and Mandarin .
The episodes see host bug Lingo send Mandarin bug Wei, Spanish bug Queso and French bug Jargonaise off into the real world to choose everyday objects and props to include in their grand finale – The Big Bug Show. Each episode focuses on one language, introducing children to six key words, plus examples of everyday vocabulary like ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’. There are opportunities for children to develop both speaking and listening skills as they are encouraged to repeat words with the bugs, voiced by native speakers of the target language. I’m definitely going to make time to watch this with the kids.
The new episodes of Alphablocks are in a slighter longer format than in the past and will continue to use best-practice phonics teaching to help young children develop engagement and confidence with reading and making words. For those unfamiliar with the series Alphablocks are 26 living letters who fall out of the sky and discover that if they hold hands and make a word, it comes to life.
Abadas aims to help children to learn new vocabulary that corresponds to objects they come across in their everyday lives.
The new episodes feature the familiar fun faces of Hari the hippo, Ela the fox and Seren the bat (all with Welsh accents) who come to life when a pop-up book is opened. Once the book is opened, the Abadas’ world comes alive and it’s playtime for the three adventurers. Through these adventures the Abadas encourage the young audience to re-tell a story and be able to ask questions and tell others what they have learned.
The season of programming will also include repeats of the popular numbers series Numberjacks.
I hope that by scheduling these programmes together, children will become naturally inquisitive about letters and numbers. The 5 minute programmes are perfect for young children’s attention spans and this short concentrated burst of literacy and numeracy programmes could serve as a great introduction to other hands on activities. Pre-school children do not need to learn to read, write and count but the programmes could introduce the concepts without any pressure. Take the lead from your child, if they are showing an interest you can develop it further. The Grown Ups section of the CBeebies website has excellent articles about how to support your child’s early learning including phonics , numeracy, story telling and mark making and includes many additional activities. Over the next few weeks I will also be sharing literacy and numeracy ideas here. If there are any particular areas you would like inspiration for add a comment and I will follow it up.
The Love to Learn programmes will be on air from 27th February every weekday on CBeebies. The scheduling is 09:00 Numtums
09:25 Abadas .
The Lingo Show will air sometime during March.
The timings are perfectly placed just after the school run , before we go out and explore numeracy and literacy in everyday situations.