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Super Why!

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!!

“How Do You Make a Hit Children’s Show?” is the question I typically hear from parents, students, artists and writers as I meet them for the first time. While everyone’s got their own system to create educational media for children, I shared mine this week at The 4th Annual International Children’s Media Conference in Istanbul, Turkey, via live stream.

I was excited to journey outside my typical neighborhood with this project because a key to a better tomorrow lies within the education and happiness of children, on a global scale.

During the talk, I mentioned the importance of understanding one’s vision and the necessity of creating aspirational characters. Using Blue’s Clues, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Super Why!, Creative Galaxy & Wishenpoof as tangible examples of how I implemented such features, I explained their characters’ development and how each show’s curriculum helped to enhance their stories. I typically allude to the secret sauce and timing when discussing my projects, which are both imperative to a “Hit Children’s Show”.

Screenshot 2015-11-25 09.54.42

 Special thanks to Hatice Şehime ÖZÜTLER (TRT Çocuk) for inviting me to share, amidst an educated panel, for this special project.

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Blue's Clues, Parenting, Super Why!

EHnBlue

I really wish I could tell you that I break into song every time the mail arrives just like Steve/Joe from Blue’s Clues does. But well, I don’t.

I’d love to say that when one of my daughters has a problem, my usual response is to cheerfully chant, “When you have a problem, we look…in a book!” just like my characters from Super Why. But no, I don’t do that either.

So, what do I do?  And what have I learned from writing hundreds of preschool episodes for television?Super Why Reading Camp

Singing helps.

Seriously.  Singing anything.  We even sing when the mail comes on Blue’s Clues.  Because, well..mail is exciting when you are four!  And truthfully, most mail is exciting.  It’s like a little surprise present.  Singing about it makes it celebratory.

 

So why not sing about other things?  Sing when we are cleaning up, which preschool teachers have been doing forever! Sing when we are sad (Hello, Taylor Swift?).  Sing when we are excited (“I’m so excited!  And I just can’t hide it!”).  Sing when things don’t go our way (“You Can’t Always Get What you Want”).

 

Feel free to belt out a tune today. Just watch how it helps!

 

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Blue's Clues, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Parenting, Super Why!

Happy ThanksgivingA cornucopia of thanks to all of you that give Daniel Tiger, Super Why, Blue and the rest of our imaginary characters an open door policy into your home.

There isn’t a day that we take your trust for granted and we’re proud to meet the challenges of bettering the lives of children across the globe.

Happy Thanksgiving one and all!

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.

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Good Use of Media, Kids, Parenting, Super Why!

Super Why Fan - Cole

Meet four year old Cole, undoubtedly one of Super Why‘s BIGGEST fans. When he was a year old, Cole was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.

His Dad, Adam, recently told us:

“When Cole was introduced to Super Why at 6 months old, it had been the only TV show my wife would let him watch regularly because of the positive messages it brought across for our son..

Your show has made some tough times in our house more simple..The smile on his face when he hears the opening song come on or from hearing a character’s voice is priceless. If he’s not in a very good mood or crying, instantly his attitude & personality changes.

Cole - Super Why Fan

For that, I say THANK YOU”

Adam & his wife Jennifer would love for more of the public to understand that special needs children have so very much to offer. In fact, Cole has taken some time out of his day to do some modeling and he can be seen in the Toys R Us “Differently Abled” catalog.

Thank you Adam & Jennifer for your message and especially your pictures of Cole.

Enjoy the ride Cole & we expect to see big things from you!

 

“A quarter of U.S. households have a member with special needs. More than 8% of kids under 15 have a disability, and half of those are deemed severe” –Jeff Howe/CNN Money
 
 
by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Research Parents Should Know About!, Super Why!

SuperWhy

Reading

“Children who watched SUPER WHY! on PBS Kids scored 46% higher on standardized tests than those who did not watch the show.”

 

SUPER WHY! has been successful in supporting learning in a highly engaging environment.”

Children’s Media Lab
Annenberg School for Communication
University of Pennsylvania

 

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Blue's Clues, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Super Why!

I met with The818’s Morgan Shanahan via Skype the other day to discuss my new creative arts program, Creative Galaxy, math based program, Sara Solves it, (Amazon Studios), the preschool tv biz, Fred Rogers and much more.

With our never ending to-do lists, it’s fun (and necessary) to sit and talk about why we do what we do.

See Morgan Shanahan‘s complete postBlue’s Clues Creator Angela Santomero Launches Two Shows Via Amazon” at BlogHer & don’t forget to visit Morgan at the the818.com

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under PRESS, Super Why!

Billboard Rolling Stone

Is today the day that preschool TV could be considered..dare I say it..

COOL?

 

When I’m at a red carpet event, flooded with flashing lights & flowing gowns, it’s become customary that when I finally approach the photographers’ line, they decide to switch their memory cards or the old school photographers (those who’ve attended a Flock of Seagulls concert or earlier) will take that time to change their cameras’ film.

 

By now, I get it. If Kindergarten is but a memory, my cast of characters are no longer “cool” to you.

I’ve learned to become comfortable with this..

..really

 

But now that a “name” like fun.’s Jack Antonoff has shared his creativity with our team, which previously has only been famous to the juice box set, we’re in Billboard & Rolling Stone!

Like a turn on the swings, you take it when you can get it!

Here’s hoping our new “cool” will push beyond our 15 minutes.

 

 

BillboardFun.’s Jack Antonoff on Writing ‘Super WHY!’ Songs

by 

Rolling StoneFun. Guitarist Writes Songs for Children’s Program

by Jon Blistein

USA TodayJack Antonoff adds some fun. to Super WHY! Live tour

by Korina Lopez

 

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Kids, My Projects, PRESS, Super Why!

Creative Galaxy & Sara Solves It shoot

Getting the “Creative Galaxy” & “Sara Solves It” word(s) out there.

Preparing for the Amazon Studios shoot, on location at Out Of The Blue Enterprises!

Creative Galaxy Sara Solves It

related links:  

Creative Galaxy & Sara Solves It