I am a teacher and I love summertime.
I am a mom and I can’t wait for school to start.
I have a love/hate relationship with summer. The teacher in me loves the fact that I get a break from the day to day craziness that teaching 6 year olds can entail. However, I am also a mom who, like every other mom with kids at home all day, needs a break to catch my breath, go to the bathroom in peace or drink a sip of cold coffee every know and then. While I can’t stand the idea of using the TV as a babysitter, I don’t mind “putting on a show”, as my son says, once in a while if the content is informative. Mindless television drives me nuts, however, not all children’s shows fit into that category.
Here are some of my current teacher approved TV shows for preschoolers.
Team Umizoomi (Nickelodeon) – Math
Until I actually sat down and watched this show with my son, I thought it was just some fast paced, space-age cartoon. But after investing a few minutes I realized that Team Umizoomi is actually a show with an emphasis on preschool mathematical concepts such as counting, sequencing, shapes, patterns, measurements and comparisons. Teamwork and problem solving are also highlighted in every episode. My son loves to develop his “Mighty Math Powers” with the help of Team Umizoomi.
Wallykazam! (Nickelodeon) – Reading Literacy
First of all, I think Wally is so cute. Not only is he a cool young troll, but he’s also the main character of this literacy series that takes place in a colorful word resembling a fairy tale. Wally uses his magic stick to build words and turn them into physical objects or occurrences in order to solve problems along with his pet dragon Norville. I love the phonemic awareness, word building, and word recognition, as well as rhyming that is in every episode. Wallykazam is fun, friendly and informative, oh, and the theme song will get stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! “Wally found a stick…”
The Cat in the Hat Knows a lot About That! (PBS Kids) – Science
We love anything Dr. Seuss around our house. Books, stickers, and the TV show The Cat in the Hat Knows a lot About That! This adventurous cartoon follows the magical adventures of Nick and Sally who travel the world with the Cat in the Hat as their guide. It is rich in building literacy through science with lots of fun facts thrown in here and there. As they travel in the Cat’s customized vehicle, the Thinga-ma-jigger, which can float, fly, drive and even ski, Nick and Sally learn about natural science, visiting the rain forest, the bottom of the sea, and all places in between.
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (PBS Kids) – Socioemotional
The series centers around Daniel Tiger, the son of the original Daniel Striped Tiger on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Two 11-minute segments are linked by a common socio-emotional theme, such as disappointment and sadness or anger, or being thankful and appreciative. The theme also uses a musical motif phrase, which the show calls “strategy songs”, to reinforce the theme and help children remember the life lessons. (Wikipedia)
I can tell you from experience that Daniel Tiger and his strategy songs have gotten us through many sticky situations from visiting the doctor, to dealing with a new baby sister, and my favorite episode – potty training. This series is innocent, fun and deals with every emotion preschoolers are feeling, but don’t know how to handle.
Bob the Builder (PBS Kids) – Teamwork/Cooperative Learning
Working together to achieve a common goal is the main theme in the imaginative world where Bob the Builder lives and works with his friends. In each episode, Bob and his team help with renovations, construction and repair projects with the emphasis on teamwork, conflict resolution, and cooperation. I love that there is a girl in the mix (Wendy, Bob’s business partner), and I also love the catchphrase “Can we fix it?” to which it is always answered with “Yes we can!” Bob and his team demonstrate what hard work looks like in every episode and finish whatever job they begin. Important life lessons if you ask me!