Media is all around us; one of the most-used forms is television. Children are watching more television than ever and becoming very efficient with other forms of media. With media surrounding us, we can benefit from thoughtful and intentional use of it. We can teach through television.
Television offers a spectrum of themes, formats and genres, ranging from material that is totally unsuitable for children to imaginative content that opens new doors to learning for children. PBS KIDS educational programs such asMartha Speaks aim to give children additional vocabulary, while Sid the Science Kid introduces basic scientific skills. Still other programs, such asDaniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Curious George, display a range of information with lessons on friendships and social skills. Television shows are designed to entertain, but they also have educational opportunities. A child may watch Sesame Street and sing along, but they are also learning, and your help makes all the difference to them in this process.
Television has its limits. TV is not individualized for every child and it does not know if your child is responding after a question. This is where the family comes into play. Try co-viewing with your child. Encourage your child to answer the questions presented on the television. Ask them additional questions to have them use vocabulary to explain what they just saw. Create relationships between your child’s world and what they watched. After watching Sid the Science Kid, try exploring in the backyard; see if you, too, can look closely at grass or find bugs. After Martha Speaks introduces new vocabulary words, look for ways to use them throughout the rest of the day.
When we watch high quality television programs with our children, we have a new opportunity to teach. To extend the learning, check out new online games at PBS KIDS Games. Explore all these opportunities and more with your child today!
Author: Lindsay DuBois 1/29/03