Entertaining Preschoolers . . . and Little Angels
Memory is a funny thing. What we think we remember as young children doesn’t always mean that that’s what actually happened. Right?
That’s what I found out recently when I had a conversation that shook me to my pre-K core. I finally learned the truth, and then I needed some time to lick my wounds and heal from the trauma of realizing that what I had thought was so . . . wasn’t really so at all.
Now if that sounds like a big dramatic setup, then you’ve come to the right blog.
Because I found out that my mom did NOT allow my older sister and I to watch The Electric Company when we were small.
I know. If you’re a child of the ‘70s, take a breath.
But how could that be? I remember watching it. And what’s so wrong with The Electric Company anyway?
I really do have fond memories of watching this educational PBS kids’ television series. Lessons in phonetics and grammar were cleverly woven in to comedy sketches with characters like Easy Reader (Morgan Freeman), the whip-cracking movie director (Rita Moreno, in some of the show’s most “spirited” storylines) and the amazing Spidey-man guy. And my favorite? The “Heeeeeey yooooooou guuuuuuys!” milkman sketch with the great Bill Cosby.
But here’s what really happened . . .
When I was a preschooler and flipping the dial (that’s right, I grew up WITHOUT a remote control), my mom only let us watch The Electric Company for just a short period of time before she put the kibosh on it.
Uh huh. Momma MacCorkle didn’t like what she was seeing and hearing coming out of this show. Nor its influence on me. Which is funny because I LOVED the loud voices (yelling actually), the over-the-top characterizations, the occasional bickering or name-calling . . . the drama. It really spoke to me and fed my little strong-willed personality.
Which is probably exactly why my mother was concerned.
When I asked her why she objected, Mom said that the circle of mothers she was friends with at the time (they came together to form a “play group” for their children) decided that even though there was educational value, they weren’t down with the way it was packaged with some of the behaviors and attitudes represented in the show.
And so no more The Electric Company for me. Or my preschoolin’ friends.
Now, fast forward several decades, and I can see what she’s talking about—especially now that I’m more inclined to view entertainment through the more mature eyes of how a parent might also be seeing things. Not being one myself, sure I’m not as qualified as moms and dads out there. But as a proud aunt who has helped from time to time in the mentoring process of my niece and nephew, I can certainly use my common sense and figure out what’s good for the educational/entertainment intake of impressionable little hearts and minds.
So why The Electric Company and why that enlightening conversation now? Well, it came to mind as I was reviewing a new educational DVD series for preschoolers called Little Angels. Executive produced by Roma Downey (yes, that “angel” from the popular Touched by an Angel TV program), the animated series is directed and written by Phil Lollar (Adventures in Odyssey) and features two preschool characters: twins Alex and Zoe.
On the ceiling of their home’s nursery is painted a mural with eight angels on it. And when they come to life and descend into the lives of the twins from time to time, that’s when the great stories begin! Some of the angels are related to biblical archangel counterparts, and all of them have unique abilities and gifts with which they help to guide Alex and Zoe in learning about age-appropriate Bible stories and life lessons. Uriel is the angel of creativity and carries a little paintbrush and a palette. Dina is the angel of learning and has a little iPad-like device at the ready. And so forth.
I have watched clips of some of the first two Little Angels DVDs (Little Angels Animals and Little Angels ABC’s) and love how the children get to time-travel with the angels back into Bible times and witness firsthand different characters and their stories as they dovetail with whatever practical skills the twins are also learning in the real world (doing your chores, tying your shoelaces, etc.).
In my recent interview I had with Downey (click here to read), she says she has been so excited to bring Little Angels to fruition and wishes a series like this was around when her children were smaller. And I can see why. It’s fun and whimsical, but there’s also substance here which I’m sure Bible-believing parents will greatly appreciate.
The series’ first two DVDs release to Christian retail today, and there are also music CDs and eventually books that will be available in the Little Angels product line as well. I encourage you to check it out at www.littleangels.com.
And when you do, the preschoolers or “little angels” in your life just might put down their milk and cookies and say "thank you."