Okay, you can stop laughing at me now. I didn’t realize that podcasts were for more than just adults. I’m used to sharing cool podcasts with my friends but didn’t really think about finding ones to share with JustaBXgirl. That is until The Imagine Neighborhood podcast series found its way into my inbox!
The Imagine Neighborhood is brought to us by the Committee for Children. Committee for Children is the non-profit that is behind Second Step, a social-emotional learning curriculum. When I worked in the youth development field social-emotional learning was really at the heart of everything that we did. I am so happy that it is a major focus in today’s society. Social-Emotional Learning helps littles learn how to identify and manage their emotions. It helps our littles learn how to express their emotions in appropriate manners and gets them to think about their place in our society as a whole.
Listening to The Imagine Neighborhood I was reminded just how important it is to check in on our littles beyond academic learning. I loved the messages in the series and my favorite part is that even though they are short (which is great for little’s attention spans) they speak to families in different ways.
Each episode focuses on a different lesson. Yet, they all follow a similar format which gives consistency to littles. They each tell a story, include music and feel interactive while teaching a lesson. JustaBXgirl was responding to the podcast questions without prompting from me. She was engaged and following along with what was happening. I also love that these podcasts challenge us to interact with each other. Also, it isn’t a one-sided type of interaction. I really appreciate that The Imagine Neighborhood asks adults to share with their littles as well as creating a space for the littles to share with the adults. They also never assume that it is mom or dad listening with the child (it always makes my heart smile when there is a silent acknowledgment that all families look different) Not identifying (or assuming) who the adult is listening with the little makes these wonderful tools to use in the classroom as well.
Maybe it was nostalgia setting in but listening to The Imagine Neighborhood made me think of Mister Rogers. In my head hearing the stories and meeting the characters like Count Vacula, Doctor Apocalypso, Macho Supreme and Princess Donnasaurus took me back to being a child and taking the trolley with Mister Rogers and visiting King Friday and the friends in the Land of Make-Believe.
I can see JustaBXgirl falling in love with this series just like I did with Mister Rogers, which also focused on social-emotional learning! When we finished listening to the first four episodes she asked if we could keep listening and was sad when I told her that we would have to wait for more to be released. And then I reminded her that we were blessed to have the opportunity to listen to them before they officially launched today, March 16th. This FREE podcast is available at iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Stitcher.
Big surprise, Princess Donnasaurus is JustaBXgirl’s favorite character so far. You will meet her in episode four, Crossing Lava Avenue, being released on March 30, 2020. I really enjoyed that episode and the lessons it included on how to cross the street since that is something that we are lightly learning at home.
You will find her favorite story in episode two, The Clouds Are Made Of Cake! She keeps randomly yelling it around the house. Be prepared for your little to do the same after listening to it on March 16th. Yup, episode two will be released at the same time as episode one because your littles are not going to want to hear just one.
Episode one, Grown-Ups Come Back, also released on March 16th was one that I think is a perfect starting place for littles. Separation anxiety is still a real thing in our home. If you have dealt with it then you know that it can be really, really rough on both the little and the big. One thing that was subtle in this lesson that I really appreciated for us bigs was the importance of checking-in with our littles. When Count Vacula was feeling afraid of Scotty leaving, Scotty acknowledged Count’s feelings and checked-in with Count to make sure that he felt safe with the babysitter. It is also a wonderful starting point because it doesn’t diminish fears and gives an example that we all have been through before.
After you check our the podcast don’t forget to come back here and let me know which was your favorite episode.