Imagine a group of mothers coming together to produce a video about kid’s feelings? Who better than to understand exactly how children feel than a group of experienced mothers (who happen to be experienced producers)?
My kids and I just spent time together watching a DVD called Ruby’s Studio: The Feelings Show. It was produced by a company called the Mother Company, a group of dedicated mothers and parents hoping to bring a new kind of children’s entertainment. Their content will focus on social and emotional learning. I was curious to check out their first completed program.
The video reminded me of Free to Be You and Me, an informative, entertaining special on TV on in the 1970′s by Marlo Thomas. It also aimed to teach pre-school children to recognize feelings and express themselves (like the songs “It’s Alright to Cry” and “William Wants a Doll” from Free to Be). Both specials utilize different methods to get their point across. The Feelings Show uses art projects, animation, dancing, original songs and insightful interviews with real kids. They also use real children who are eager to demonstrate what makes them mad, happy, jealous and frustrated, and they tell what they do to express it. It reminds me of Harry and Sally when the older couples sat on couches, revealing how their relationships work. In this case, it’s small pairings of children, revealing how they feel, while interacting with each other the way kids do.
How does a child know how he/she’s feelings? Ruby (played by Kelsey Collins) is host to a group of children in an arts studio that’s right out of a dream. She uses various methods to engage them in conversation about expressing their emotions. First she spins a wheel that demonstrates the answers to “How can we tell how someone is feeling?” Then she asks them to act out their emotions. They talk about stomping when mad, screaming into a pillow. When they’re happy, they dance around a lot. When they’re sad, they cry and tell us how they feel.
Their first activity is to use drawings and images to remind them of their feelings on paper on colored paper, making a collage. Then they have to sound out how they’re feeling and glue it on paper. Ruby is very understanding. She tells stories (which turn into animated shorts) to make them realize that their feelings are universal and that everyone experiences feelings of all kinds. She helps them reveal what makes them mad, happy, sad. One little girl tells Ruby, “when I feel sad, my heart hurts.”
In the interstitials on the sofa, one little girl says, “When someone says they love me, I’m happy.” Another says, “When we go to the beach, we’re happy, cause we like to swim in the water.” Then she turns to her very little brother, and tells him to speak. So cute. When talking about being sad, one little girl says, “When I feel sad, I want a hug.”
When they talk about being mad, Ruby tells them to take a deep breath and blow it out. They do, and kids watching should try it at home!
The (“I Feel”) segments are both educational and creative . “The Happy Song,” sung by one of favorite singers, Elizabeth Mitchell, features a dance number with 40 kids under a rainbow. “There are so many things that make me happy…I could go on and on..” The Mother Company produced these segments using handcrafted stop-motion animation and a variety of other classic animated styles. They are really beautiful and creative, and my children were glued to the screen watching them.
Ruby ends the show talking about the universality of feelings. We all have them. They’re always changing. It’s okay to feel different ways. The video really brings that point home. She says at the end: “Remember, you are the only you in the world, and you are loved.”
“Ruby’s Studio” is a series of DVDs for preschool children ages 3-6. Check out the Mother Company’s web site to learn more and for information on how to order your own copies.
Disclosure: This DVD was provided to me, free of charge, for my review. However, I was not asked to convey any particular opinion and these thoughts are my own.