Sunday, November 13, 2011

MTE reviews: Ruby's Studio

With three kids of my own, and over a decade of time spent with preschoolers, I've got a good idea of what young children find entertaining, and I'm secure in my understanding of early childhood development thanks in part to my educational background and my life experiences. When those two areas intersect, you get the often-rare-to-find high quality children's programming. I'm happy to share with you my impressions of a new show that fits that bill perfectly.

Ruby's Studio carries the tag line "Social and Emotional Learning for Kids," and it's a product of a company I'm personally intrigued by- The Mother Company. Founded by two moms who long to change the way children experience screen time, they are working to bring forward appropriate materials that will engage children and offer a focus on positive social and emotional development. That, I can get behind!

I was sent a copy of Ruby's Studio: The Feelings Show to watch with my children (5 year old Red, and just-about-4 year old Pudge), and I have to say that we were pleased all around. Let's start with the host, Ruby, who acts just lovely with the four young children, engaging with them in a respectful and fun manner. She's believable in her interactions, not coming off as too cheesy or inauthentic, as some children's shows have demonstrated in the past.

The show as a whole can be described as quiet and reflective, not fast-paced, but not boring either. The slower pace allows things to be feel more meaningful, giving child viewers an opportunity to really think about what they're watching. The promotional materials that came with it used the term "old-school" to describe the show, and I think that label fits perfectly. The live-action parts of the show that focus on Ruby and the kids' interactions alternate with animated pieces, collectively offering art projects, conversations, musical selections, and interview snippets featuring other children. The transitions between pieces are quite smooth, and feel appropriately timed.

The focus on feelings for this first DVD comes at a perfect time for my own young kids' development, especially given that our family tends to have a higher-than-average emotional output on a daily basis. This topic is a familiar one to my kids, and they really enjoyed engaging with the show talking about the feelings that they know well. For an added level of experience, parents can opt to watch the episode with the "Pop-Up Parenting" feature enabled. Discreet tips will pop up throughout the show that can assist parents in extending the DVD experience with their own children. 

Wanna see a snippet for yourself? Here's a little preview:

As we get closer to the gift-giving season, I highly recommend Ruby's Studio for any young children in your life!

**Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the DVD for review purposes. All opinions expressed here are my own, based on viewing it with my own little ones.

Feeling happy to share,