" />

Good Use of Media

Superheroes with the power to read, salt and pepper shakers that talk and toe tapping strategy songs are a large part of my day. They serve as a means to help preschoolers share, cooperate and enjoy their environment that they are a part of.

So, how do you talk to your child about troubling and scary events that infrequently occur in the real world?

Less is more.

The best course is to answer the questions in a clear, concise way. Don’t offer up extra information. And for the very little ones, it’s best to shield them from what’s happening all together (an easy way to do this is to avoid having the news on when they’re in the room).

As kids move into grade school, they are much more aware of the world outside of themselves. They also have great difficulty understanding the distance between that world and themselves. How they see the world will depend on how we, as parents, help to paint the picture.

When it comes to the tragedies that they’ll inevitably hear about, it’s best to focus on the facts and what you can do to help. One of the workers at my daughter’s school lost a large portion of his family in an earthquake. We talked about it as a family and focused on what we could do to help. My daughter wrote a letter telling him how sorry she was and we helped collect food and supplies for the people affected. The worst part of these situations for kids is their feeling of powerlessness, so enabling them to take control by being proactive about helping is important.

 

Here are 3 more tips to help you talk to your kids about topics you may tend to avoid:

  1. Listen first, then talk. With the less is more philosophy, listening to our children in an empathetic, interested way is of utmost importance. Find out what they want to know, what questions they have, and take cues from the way they are talking. Do they want a hug? Reassurance?  Answers?
  2. Be truthful, calm and explain the situation. If children ask about a specific situation, such as natural disasters, a good answer is: “Yes, this was a terrible tragedy but it is very unlikely that it would happen here. We prepare ourselves for emergencies such as these. We have a lot of people whose job it is to keep us safe.” Even kids as old as twelve need to be reassured.
  3. Make them feel safe. Many specialist’s believe that it’s better to apologize and explain if an improbable, traumatic event does occur rather than have kids live with the fear that something “could” happen.

 

Please share some tips that have helped your little ones feel more secure after a difficult time, because we’re all in this together!   

 

 

At the end of October 2011, I was asked to make a statement at a US Senate hearing on The Value of Public Media in Education. While 170 million Americans watch, listen to or use the services & programming of public service media each month, the importance of federal funding is clear, regardless of party affiliation. Federal funding for PBS is on the chopping block yet again. Here’s my speech from 2011 about how it has affected my life and so many more!

US Senate

I am Angela Santomero.

I am a Mom.

I am the creator of quality educational media.

I am a dreamer.

I am a teacher.

I am the result of PBS.

 

 

The first official meeting of the CPB board was held on April 26, 1968 – the day I was born.

The Mister Rogers Neighborhood PBS program debuted and my mother put me in front of the television set, at 3 months old, in my infant seat.  Halfway into the program she said to my Dad, “I know she’s learning.  I’m not sure what, but I can see her learning.”

I did learn.

Because of Mister Rogers I learned that I was special.  I learned that someone liked me just the way I was.  I learned what to do with the mad that I feel.  I learned to be respected for my feelings.  I learned that someone out there understood me, a child, in this world of adults.

My brother was born when I was 14.  I was fascinated by him.  My first real child development case study.  I watched him as a preschooler, kick at the television set because of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  It was at that moment that I knew.I knew I wanted to positively harness that power of tv and give back to children what Mister Rogers gave to me.  Enough bombardment, to use Freds words, we needed smart shows for kids that understood and respected them.  In 8th grade I was given an assignment to write a paper on a person who I admired.  I wrote about Fred Rogers.  I learned that he had a child development degree and a vision for how television could be used to educate.

Angela Santomero Fred Rogers PBSI grew up and followed in Fred Rogers footsteps.  I have a masters degree in child developmental psychology with a concentration on instructional technology and media from Teachers College, Columbia University.  I studied how children learn and how they learn from media.

My vision was to create the very best educational curriculum and put it on television with a show that millions of kids will want to watch and benefit from. PBS made this happen.

I wanted to be a teacher by harnessing the power of television.  I co-created Blue’s Clues in 1995 with a kindergarten readiness curriculum and in 2007 created Super Why for PBS with a  reading curriculum based on the skills the National Reading Panel deem critical.  Longitudinal studies of both shows, independently, proved that kids who watch the programs score better on standardized tests that kids who do not watch. Because of the opportunity given to me by PBS, kids are not only learning to read from Super Why, but loving the POWER to read.

I now have the great honor of working with the Fred Rogers Company creating Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, using Fred Roger’s socio emotional curriculum as the foundation.  Early research with teachers had them saying, “This is what kids need today.  They need to see expressions of love, of care, of trust.  Of time spent on a child’s feelings and their view of the world.”

I believe it is imperative to give children strategies to help them deal with anger, disappointment, how to cooperate and share.

Mantras to show love and to celebrate the wonder of being a child.  I believe in the whole child and teaching them how to think constructively and not what to think.  I believe in respecting children, empowering them, challenging them and loving them.  And I won’t rest until our shows are the most watched television shows that teach children the fundamentals of being the best they can be.Daniel Tigers Neighborhood

In a world that is so full of “bombardment” we need public television to be the light that leads the way for our next generation to grow with the belief in themselves, in who they are, what they feel, to learn empathy, understanding and to care.

Fred Rogers’ vision and insight into the magic of childhood is a national treasure for tens of millions of us children, because he used media and technology to reach into the homes and lives of kids nationally and not locally.  To quote Fred, “you are the only one like you. ”  If all kids grow up knowing and believing that, even if only through television, then we have done our job at PBS.

I am what happens when you continue to support PBS.Angela-Santomero

I am that little girl who absorbed these wonderful messages, good educational curriculum and was given a role model through television.
Fred Rogers on PBS inspired me and millions like me.

And I hope to inspire at least one more “me” to change the world.  One preschool show at a time.

 

If you are able, please consider signing the Parents Together Action petition to save PBS. Thank you!!

{ Comments Off on A World Without PBS Affects You }

Just in time, towards the end of our presidential election, our Wishenpoof Music Videos debuted this week, and as the lyrics state,

It all comes down to me, to be the best person that I can be.  I need to…Believe in Me.”

It dawned on me today that these lyrics underscore my entire career and why I create positive media for kids.  I want to give them the skills and the encouragement to change the world, and nourish them against the bad modeling that surrounds them on a daily basis, that goes beyond election time. AAP

Last week, The American Academy of Pediatrics, retracted it’s guidelines for toddlers & screen time saying it’s all about content, context and co-viewing.  The idea that the “interaction” of live video chat has a potentially positive effect even on babies, plays to my strength in the value of creating media that actively involves the home viewer to think along, sing-along, learn-along and master the skills we put on the screen.  If babies are benefiting from this type of interaction, imagine what we are doing for older kids when we create media that is specifically for them, that asks them to play along? In fact, according to Linebarger and Walker (“Infants’ and Toddlers’ Television Viewing and Language Outcomes”, 2005), “The recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics (1999) urging parents to avoid TV for children younger than 2 years old may be premature. The authors go on to state not only do these results further provide evidence that “television matters” (e.g., Anderson et al., 2001; Wright et al., 2001), it’s the interactive format that is the tipping point.  Formats such as “speaking directly to the viewer, providing opportunities to respond, and using and defining vocabulary words”.  Blue's CLuesThe interactive and participatory nature of all my shows, starting in 1996 with “Blue’s Clues” (Nick Jr), where Steve or Joe speak directly to the child were positively related to “expressive language production and vocabulary”, according to Linebarger.  Another Blue’s Clues study by my mentor, Dr. Dan Anderson, et al, has purported that regular viewers of Blue’s Clues benefit from a strengthened cognitive development,  Anderson states, “Blue’s Clues doesn’t only do well, but does good.”

By now, we can’t argue that kids do, in fact, learn from media, good and bad.  As the AAP states, it is all about content.   What we need to look for is the type of content that has the intent to teach – kind of like looking for “organic produce” or checking the labels of food to see what is exactly in there.  If you could “check the labels” of media, we want to look for the shows that are founded in curriculum, that does research, that understands what is put on the screen has enormous impact on the brains of the next generation. I guess because I’m such a research nerd, I’m more proud of the research and learning that has come out of each of my shows than the Peabody wins or Emmy nominations. Super Why, our long running PBS Kids show is grounded in what the National Reading Panel deems critical to reading success, and has thus been proven to teach kids to read.   The Annenberg study, which was headed by Deborah L. Linebarger, Ph.D., Director of the Annenberg Children’s Media Lab, determined whether young viewers learned the key early literacy content in the show, such as letter names and sounds, rhyming, and matching spoken words to print and whether they applied their learning in their daily lives.  Dr. Linebarger has said, “The format of Super Why! provides kids with an engaging platform that fosters literacy skills, resulting in learning the content featured in the program as well as applying that content to other contexts.”

New research out of University of Texas has come out to support that Daniel Tiger (PBS KIDS) “America’s favorite tiger” helps kids with social emotional skills, social cues and problem solving strategies with our very sticky musical jingles (come on, I know you know our potty song!).  In addition, as mentioned in the AAP report today, co-viewing is also important. Anecdotally we have heard about these results for a long time, as documented in the New York Times, Motherlode column in 2015, “Daniel Tiger Becomes a Boy with Autism’s Guide to Social Life” as well in our own formative research.

 

But most importantly, in terms of combining the big three – content, context and co-viewing, how can we, as parents, use media to help our kids understand the world and fare better as adults in it?  This is what keeps me up at night.  In light of the negative modeling of this election, I for one, want all kids to master positive executive functioning skills  – among them, how to get along in the world, be empathetic, take other’s perspectives, be kind, fair, smart and ultimately, “be good people.” Wishenpoof (Amazon Kids, is created to give kids life skills through the stories on the show and through big beautiful, empowering anthems (as cited above with the new “Believe in Me” video). Incorporating Ellen Galinsky’s Mind in the Making, 7 Essential Skills, the life skills that every child needs, according to Lisa Belkin of Motherlode in 2010.

I personally, want kids to grow up believing in themselves, and believing that what they say matters and how their voice can actually change the world.  That’s why each of my shows has been interactive – – our characters are listening, and care what kids have to say. I want to motivate kids, give them a sense of self worth, and give them a voice.

Perhaps we’re hearing the opposite from a particular Presidential candidiate during this Presidential election process?

xo

Angela

I’d love to hear from you on this below or via Facebook. What traits would you like your child to acquire & do you think the media they’re digesting will assist them in this process. Hmm?

 

{ Comments Off on No Screen Time Before Age 2? Part 2 }

Just in time, towards the end of our presidential election, the first Wishenpoof Music Video debuted this week, and as the lyrics state,

It all comes down to me, to be the best person that I can be.  I need to…Believe in Me.”

It dawned on me today that these lyrics underscore my entire career and why I create positive media for kids.  I want to give them the skills and the encouragement to change the world, and nourish them against the bad modeling that surrounds them on a daily basis, that goes beyond election time. AAP

Last week, The American Academy of Pediatrics, retracted it’s guidelines for toddlers & screen time saying it’s all about content, context and co-viewing.  The idea that the “interaction” of live video chat has a potentially positive effect even on babies, plays to my strength in the value of creating media that actively involves the home viewer to think along, sing-along, learn-along and master the skills we put on the screen.  If babies are benefiting from this type of interaction, imagine what we are doing for older kids when we create media that is specifically for them, that asks them to play along? In fact, according to Linebarger and Walker (“Infants’ and Toddlers’ Television Viewing and Language Outcomes”, 2005), “The recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics (1999) urging parents to avoid TV for children younger than 2 years old may be premature. The authors go on to state not only do these results further provide evidence that “television matters” (e.g., Anderson et al., 2001; Wright et al., 2001), it’s the interactive format that is the tipping point.  Formats such as “speaking directly to the viewer, providing opportunities to respond, and using and defining vocabulary words”.  Blue's CLuesThe interactive and participatory nature of all my shows, starting in 1996 with “Blue’s Clues” (Nick Jr), where Steve or Joe speak directly to the child were positively related to “expressive language production and vocabulary”, according to Linebarger.  Another Blue’s Clues study by my mentor, Dr. Dan Anderson, et al, has purported that regular viewers of Blue’s Clues benefit from a strengthened cognitive development,  Anderson states, “Blue’s Clues doesn’t only do well, but does good.”

By now, we can’t argue that kids do, in fact, learn from media, good and bad.  As the AAP states, it is all about content.   What we need to look for is the type of content that has the intent to teach – kind of like looking for “organic produce” or checking the labels of food to see what is exactly in there.  If you could “check the labels” of media, we want to look for the shows that are founded in curriculum, that does research, that understands what is put on the screen has enormous impact on the brains of the next generation. I guess because I’m such a research nerd, I’m more proud of the research and learning that has come out of each of my shows than the Peabody wins or Emmy nominations. Super Why, our long running PBS Kids show is grounded in what the National Reading Panel deems critical to reading success, and has thus been proven to teach kids to read.   The Annenberg study, which was headed by Deborah L. Linebarger, Ph.D., Director of the Annenberg Children’s Media Lab, determined whether young viewers learned the key early literacy content in the show, such as letter names and sounds, rhyming, and matching spoken words to print and whether they applied their learning in their daily lives.  Dr. Linebarger has said, “The format of Super Why! provides kids with an engaging platform that fosters literacy skills, resulting in learning the content featured in the program as well as applying that content to other contexts.”

(continue..)

{ Comments Off on No screen time before age 2? }

Most parents will admit a little unease about raising their child(ren) within this digital age. But sitting on the sidelines with a myriad of unanswered questions will only worsen our concerns and will leave our kids in harms way. Yet again, the answer is in education. Well, last night, WQED aired the Like, Follow, Share episode of  iQ: smartparent. If you missed it, I’ve attached it below.

In this episode, we discussed common parental concerns of raising a child in a digital environment, one that relies so heavily on Social Media. I spoke with Caroline Knorr (Common Sense Media‘s parenting editor), Kelly Kochamba (Primary Media Representative & Community Outreach Specialist for the FBI Pittsburgh Field Office) and Rick Wallace (Director of Special Operations/Global – National Security Analyst) to get varied perspective on what we can do to keep our kids safe within this sea of tech.

Check it out and I would love to hear your feedback on the issue.

xo

Angela

 

 

Children and teens are using social media to define and share their personal narratives. When there is no “delete” button on Facebook or other social platforms, what story does your child’s online identity tell, now and into the future? What does it mean to be a good digital citizen? Join us for an eye-opening discussion on how parents and children can have safe and positive experiences online.

WQED

{ Comments Off on Keeping kids safe in the digital age }
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Good Use of Media, Kids, My Projects

Here’s a little backstory on our latest pilot for Amazon Studios’ Sara Solves It.

It features the brother and sister duo Sara and Sam on relatable mysteries that spring from the questions young children encounter in their daily lives. Each mystery is an interactive, math-based puzzle.

Amazon Studios

Feel free to review Sara Solves It on Amazon Studios & be sure to let them know what you think during the 30 day pilot voting period!

 

xo

Angela

 

 

I recently talked to Seattle’s GeekWire boys, Todd Bishop & John Cook, about Creative Galaxy (Amazon Prime Video). They had some interesting questions about the unique, non-broadcast process and what makes the world of Creative Galaxy inspire a love of arts and creativity within children.

In an age that unfortunately contains more than our fair share of sub par content and an abuse/overuse of technology, we cut through the clutter during this GeekWire podcast segment and dive right into how we can properly embrace and utilize new media for our kids development and enjoyment. And yes, you’ll find a shout out or two for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Blue’s Clues

Click below to enjoy the show & let me know if you have any questions please.

{ Comments Off on GeekWire & Angela Santomero on Creative Galaxy }

I like to call it the “quarter-life crisis”. Out of college & in the “real world” for a few years, and suddenly panicking about whether the job you have now – the one you worked so hard in high school and college to land – will lead to a fulfilling and gratifying life-long career.

Studying towards my Masters in Developmental Psych. at Teachers College, Columbia U., I was certain that my passion was to work with children in some capacity, but I found myself at a crossroads, with 2 outstanding career opportunities – a very fortunate “problem” to have! Children’s Media or Speech and Language Therapy? Although they seem like wildly different professions, they are actually quite intertwined.

Exposed to several Language Development & Speech Therapy courses in my program at Teachers College, I decided to explore the SLP profession in the actual field. I was privileged to meet with Speech & Language Therapist, Lauren Turk, M.S., CCC-SLP, who kindly allowed me to shadow a few of her therapy sessions in school settings.

Ranging in ages from 3-16 years, and with a variety of different speech & language disorders, her clients did have 1 important aspect in common: the comforting & motivating environment that Lauren carefully established. It was inspiring to see how a speech therapist can really make an impact on a child to live a better, more fulfilled life.

TherapyfindRThere has been a greater awareness about the importance of early identification of speech, language, swallowing & hearing disorders in young children, but people may not necessarily know who to approach, or how and when to get treatment. Luckily, Lauren Turk has devised a new website, TherapyfindR, which enables parents to search for qualified therapists by zip code. Search results display profiles of therapists with their personal description, credentials & specialty so the family can carefully select the therapist that is right for them. The site is a FREE service to help you find the right therapist for your child’s unique situation and needs.

 

Daniel TigerAs for me, I simply could not leave the children’s media world (Have you seen how cute that Daniel Tiger is??). My work as Associate Producer at Out of the Blue enables me to enrich children’s lives, & particularly their communication skills, in a slightly different way, but I feel that my (brief) exposure to the SLP career has shaped the way I view educational children’s television: While I feel I am able to reach and make an impact on many more kids at once, it is important to keep in mind that each and every child behind the screen has distinctive strengths & weaknesses and comes from a unique family & school environment.

 

Thanks again to Lauren Turk for opening my eyes to the significant field of SLP, and make sure to check out her new site at www.TherapyFindR.com!

 

Alexandra Cassel is Associate Producer at Out of the Blue Enterprises, LLC. She is completing her M.A. in Developmental Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. Alexandra received her B.A. in Psychology and Media Studies from Colgate University.
{ Comments Off on The Importance of Speech and Language Therapy }
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Good Use of Media, Stuff We Love

I know, I know. When you blog, 1 of the top Golden SEO Rules of Social Media is DO NOT EVER leave your post.

I left my post..

as it wondered “Where is she?” in my absence.

Nothing scheduled..

no new interactions to be had..

(insert maternal guilt here)

Yes, we’re all busy..but..but

I know. Excuses are like smiles..everyone’s got one.

 

So I’ll spare you the excuses and leave you with a few photos to fill you in on what we’ve been up to over the past month. Ughh! Has it truly been that long?!

Who knows..perhaps we’ll have a lengthier post about one or two of them down the road?

I really am a good friend..no, really.

Daniel Tiger castDaniel Tiger’s Neighborhood cast party in Toronto with Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood’s Addison Holley (Miss Elania), Jake Beale (Daniel Tiger), Amariah Faulkner (Katerina Kittycat) and Stuart Ralston (O the Owl).

HalloweenHalloween traditions continue with Auntie extraordinaire, Dr Aunt Alice!

DailyShow

The Daily Show‘s Jason Jones and Samantha Bee took time out of their busy schedules to lay down some vocals for us. The best 🙂 🙂 voice over team in the business! Our incredible Executive Producer, Wendy Harris, is always there to assist.

 

iQSmartParent

I hosted another episode of WQED’s iQ: smart parent (Tots & Tech) which explored current research & practical considerations of exposing children to media during the early childhood years. Our next show will be Nov 19th if you’d like to attend our live taping.

 

Creative Galaxy animatic

Amazon Studio’s Creative Galaxy is becoming more creative every day..

CGip

 ..and it’s oh so scrumptious!!

JoanRogers

Mister Rogers’ wife, Joanne, finally got to meet my hubbie & one of my daughters at The New School’s CREATIVITY & THERAPY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, a tribute to Mister Rogers. I was honored to be on their panel that evening.

 

Jason Priestly
..and I essentially became “besties” with this, Jason Priestly, guy. I see potential there.
But honestly..thank you Jason, for getting involved in a project for your kids & for being a fan of my shows.

And thanks again for your patience everyone!

xo

Angela

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Good Use of Media, Stuff We Love, Super Why!
Truglio

Dr Alice Wilder, Dr Rosemarie Truglio & Angela Santomero

Many years ago, armed with the mission to change kids media, I attended Columbia University’s Teacher’s College. Pursuing a master’s degree in child development and psychology, with a specialty in instructional media & technology, I was fortunate to have Dr. Rosemarie Truglio as my advisor.

Dr Truglio informed me about the incredible research on children and television, as well as how to maximize the creative to teach.  She gave me the confidence to write my first show, The Magic Library, which transformed into PBS’ Super Why!.

UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS

Last night I attended a reception in NYC which honored Dr. Rosemarie T. Truglio with the University of Kansas’ 2013-2014 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr Rosemarie is now the senior vice president of education and research at Sesame Workshop. She is responsible for the development of the curriculum on which “Sesame Street” is based, and she oversees all educational research pertaining to the development of “Sesame Street” content.SANTOMERO & TRUGLIO

I am honored to be one of Dr Truglio’s many accomplishments!  Congratulations on last night’s Distinguished Alumni Award award and thank you, Rosemarie, for your brilliance, support and most of all, your friendship.