About the Program is a philosophy paragraph on the PBS Parents version of the Boohbah website. It is specifically made to introduce parents to Boohbah, how the show is educational, and the elements of the programme.
The Secret of Learning with Boohbah Edit
Boohbah is different from most educational TV. It is intended to foster a style of active viewing in which the things that children learn from viewing are not determined primarily by the content of the program, but rather by the way that young viewers (and the grown-ups who care about them) engage with the program.
Woven into the design of Boohbah are opportunities to help children build skills in five different learning areas:
- Problem Solving/Science
Here is how you can take advantage of the design:
Boohbah makes moving so much fun, it is hard for young children to resist joining in. And that's the idea.
The Boohbahs begin their day with a "warm up," doing a single movement that is easy to copy. After the visit to Storyworld, the Boohbahs put several movements together to create a dance. That is followed by real children experimenting with different kinds of movements in a special "Look What I Can Do!" segment.
All the movements in the program were inspired by children, and children's physical activity experts have approved all of the exercises and dances that the Boohbahs and children perform on screen.
So don't just sit there! Do a Boohbah dance or two. Celebrate your child's physical abilities, like being able to balance on one foot or clap and march at the same time.
Boohbah's approach to mathematics is largely kinesthetic. That means that Boohbah can help children experience math concepts through movement and music rather than through the more common cognitive skills like recognizing numeric symbols or memorizing multiplication tables. So you won't see numbers flying across the screen or characters pointing out that three plus two equals five.
What you will see is dance. Structured movements offer lots of ways to introduce basic mathematics, starting with counting. How many steps are you sliding to the left? How many times do you stomp your feet before you turn around?
Dance also offers opportunities to begin learning more complex concepts. When one Boohbah starts dancing and then another joins in, your child is seeing addition. When the music plays a four beat measure and your child takes one step for each beat and then changes to taking two steps for each beat, she is going twice as fast. So she is dancing multiplication (x2)!
By moving along with the Boohbahs, paying attention to the changing rhythms in the music, and helping your child notice what is happening on screen, you are giving her a "feel" for abstract mathematical concepts that will make them much easier to master later on when they are introduced in school.
Think geometry is too advanced for young children? Think again. Boohbah offers lots of opportunities for helping your child name geometrical terms and recognize spatial concepts. Encourage your child to name the shape and size of the present that the children give to the Storypeople, e.g., "It is a short cylinder" or a "thin rectangle". Describe the choreography of the Boohbah dance - are they in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line? The movements and stories in Boohbah are filled with spatial relationships (near/far left/right/center backwards/forwards etc.) designed especially for you to help your child learn to recognize and name them.
Problem Solving/Science Edit
Each episode of Boohbah includes a visit to Storyworld, and each Storyworld segment provides problem solving opportunities. The segment starts when the Storypeople find the gift that the children have sent. Asking your child what the Storypeople might do with the gift is an exercise in prediction.
Invariably the Storypeople face a challenge. When they do, the children in the program stop the action. Before they provide the answer, ask your child, "If you could send anything at all, what would you send to the Storypeople to help them solve their problem?" Talk about how the proposed solution would work.
In addition to the adventures of the Storypeople, the movement of the Boohbahs also often involve basic scientific knowledge about concepts like weight, energy, force (e.g., how hard or easy someone is pushing), and cause & effect. Help your child name the things he notices. Follow-up with some real life activities that help your child actually experience the concepts in addition to seeing and talking about them.
There are very few words in Boohbah. So how can it help your child develop language skills? With your participation.
Help children expand their vocabulary by helping them name the things they see. For example you can describe the ways the Boohbahs move: "Look at them twist to the left" or "I wonder if you could jump on your right foot like that?". You can also help your child learn new words by introducing synonyms to the words he already knows. So, for example, if he already knows the word "middle," introduce the word "center."
One of Boohbah's best opportunities for language development is in talking with your child about what she sees in the Storyworld segments. The narration in the program itself is limited, so your child can tell her own story. Invite her to talk about what she thinks is happening or what she predicts will happen next. Encourage her to make up her own Storypeople stories or to invent her own adventures for the Boohbahs.
In order for children to develop language skills they need to be involved in conversations, both as listeners and as speakers. Use the things you see in Boohbah to begin some of those conversations. Then let your child take the lead and create your own adventures together.
The Talk About It sections for each activity in Activities provide additional suggestions.