I remember sitting in class during weeks when we had standardized testing and watching movies when testing was done We weren’t going to get much accomplished in class those days, so the teachers would allow us to watch educational videos. I remember watching “The Gods Must Be Crazy” one time and though it was zany, it was a very interesting look at a scenario outside of the American cultural influence.
It’s been interesting as my own children came up through school, and they’d tell me about the things that happened to them in school in junior and senior high and, quite frankly, I was a little disappointed at the movies teachers were allowing them to watch these days. My kids go to school in an affluent area, with many wonderful teachers, but there were definitely those whose passion for educating youths, I’d call into question. I mean, in one class the teacher actually allowed the children to watch the Samuel L. Jackson flick, Lakeview Terrace. Seriously. In junior high.
Educational TV? Yuck! Or Not
Netflix to the rescue! One of the things I love about the interwebz, and Netflix, is the deep catalog of documentary and educational content you can find. In addition, using apps like Upflix can make the whole deal even easier as it notifies you every time new content is added to the Netflix library. I highly recommend it!
While it’s important that children get outside and get that daily dose of activity that their growing bodies need, we also know that they are going to get in some screen time so starting them off with edifying content from a young age is a great way to mitigate what they’ll more than likely be consuming as they get older. Kids will be kids and, they’ll often gravitate toward things which push the envelope, but taking advantage of great children’s programming like Little Einsteins, or Netflix’s newest show, Word Party. This new show is great for preschoolers building their vocabulary and is inspired by the Thirty Million Words initiative. Getting them engaged in programming like that, very early on, helps set healthy habits and feeds inquisitive minds! This is such a great age you’re living in because when my children were that age, anything we wanted to see which wasn’t on cable or regular TV, we had to order DVDs or VHSs of. When I wanted my kids to learn Spanish and French, we ordered Muzzy and it was great. Now you can get foreign language education streamed right to them on your television set, or on their tablets if they have access to one. So many wonderful options! With Netflix, one way to go about doing this is to find children’s programming and turn on Spanish subtitles and audio. Clifford the Big Red Dog and some episodes of School House Rock are available in Spanish. These shows are already designed to teach children, so watching them in a foreign language is a great tool.
Ok, let’s get a bit serious here for a moment. We live in some very interesting times, with regard to government and life in America, right now. So much rhetoric, and confusion and anger is being thrown around in our culture and children will have questions. There’s so much that has taken place in our country that they’ll never learn about in school, which is a shame because it gives young minds better context for the world we’re living in today when they are exposed to the awesome things Americans have done as well as the not so awesome things. Educational programming for your middle and high schoolers is just as readily available as that for your elementary and kindergarteners, one only need look. If you hit Netflix and look into the Documentaries section, then scroll through the “Critically-Acclaimed” heading, you’ll find quite a few historical pieces which give fresh insight to how and why America is the country it is today. Everything from critical looks at the food industry, the prison industrial complex and even how governments use propaganda. There are docs on the civil rights movement, the history of baseball and how sports has shaped America. It’s all there! I’d also check the Science and Technology category, as well as the Social and Cultural category. There are some fascinating stories told in both of those. It’s important that we have a realistic and well-rounded view of the world around us because, let’s face it, everyone has an agenda and our children -heck, all of us- must be well equipped critical thinkers so that we are able to divide the rhetoric from the truth and wade through all the words thrown at us in the media, and by politicians and advertisers so that we can get to what really matters most to each of us.
Disclosure: I’m being compensated by Netflix as a part of the Stream Team. All posts, thoughts and IP are my own and I strive to provide value to you, the reader, regardless of whether something I post is sponsored or not.