If you don't have kids, or if you're one of those parents who don't let your kids watch tv because it's "bad for them" or you prefer to "actually parent" your children, then perhaps you have not heard of Noggin. Noggin is a heaven-sent 24 hour television station geared exclusively towards pre-schoolers. Dora and Diego are Noggin's Queen and King, but there are lots of other great shows that are completely adored by the 5-and-under set.
My life would be horrible without Noggin. I am grateful for it, and I am pleased that virtually all of the shows have some educational component. For example, when Dora is going on one of her adventures she speaks in English but sprinkles in occasional Spanish. She also teaches numbers, letters, colors, shapes--all that good pre-school stuff.
Yes, the learning that happens while watching Noggin is a nice little bonus. The Noggin execs apparently think it's the best thing to ever happen to children. Either that or they are trying to ease the guilt of parents everywhere who plop their kids in front of the tv--at least if they're watching Noggin, they're learning something! Noggin's motto is, "It's like pre-school on TV!" They have a commercial where "real parents" rave about how their 2 year olds are bilingual, recognize octagons, can spell 35 words and count to 250, all thanks to Noggin. Really? It's a bit much.
I'm saving the best for last, though. At the beginning of each show, a still screen comes up with a "learning objectives" statement on it, while a very inteliigent sounding woman recited the information.
It may sound reasonable, but let me give you an example. This is the statement for Wow!Wow! Wubbzy! It's one of E's favorite shows, and it is about a yellow creature with a long tail who runs around and plays with other creatures.
"Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! enhances pre-schoolers' understanding of inter- and intra-personal dynamics, as well as their cognitive and problem-solving skills."
Huh! Who knew?
Other things children gain from Noggin shows are "metacognition*," "kinesthetic awareness" "deductive reasoning skills" and "awareness of diversity."
I am not making this up. I am not that creative.
I always wonder if any parents actually buy that junk. If they go, "You know, Tommy, your metacognition skills just aren't what they should be. To the living room with you--it's time for some Blue's Clues!"
I can tell you what my son takes away from those shows. He watches the entire episode, listening carefully for the most annoying line of dialogue. Then he yells it at the top of his lungs for three days.
I suppose Noggin would tell me he's improving his memorizational and recitational skills, as well as improving his vocal projection abilities. Lucky, lucky me.
*Post a comment if you actually know what metacognition is--WITHOUT looking it up.