A children’s TV programming creator shares her insights into how toddlers learn.
The co-creator of Blue’s Clues, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and other educational programs, Santomero explains the methods and approaches behind the shows that she and her colleagues have created. Early on, she acknowledges the significant influence of Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and how that show prompted her to create her own engaging, entertaining, and educational storylines for children. She breaks down episodes of Blue’s Clues so parents can understand the dynamics of the show and how toddlers learn from it. “The single most important factor in ensuring children become successful, productive, happy adults isn’t the quality of their education or how high they score on an IQ or achievement test—it’s what happens during a child’s preschool years…hands down. This is a high-stakes game. Luckily, preschoolers are also the cutest and funniest human beings on the planet.” Researchers believe that 90 percent of a child’s brain development occurs by age 5, so Santomero explains why play, repetition, and pausing long enough for a child to formulate answers are so important. She incorporates numerous examples of day-to-day interactions with toddlers as well as handy charts and bulleted lists that get to the heart of each chapter, condensing the important information into bite-size bits for the busy parent. Resolving conflicts, showing respect for others, convincing toddlers to help around the house, and modeling good behavior are just a few of the topics Santomero and her team cover through the creative use of a puppy named Blue and a tiger named Daniel. The author alleviates the fear of oversaturation by helping parents understand that these specific shows are actually beneficial to the child, not just mindless fluff that suck up time.
An entertaining and educational analysis of how toddlers learn and why specific TV shows are actually useful for preschoolers.