Square Eyes? Angry Eyes More Like! (Or Where CBeebies Get It Wrong)

I don't tend to rant on my blog, possibly a little bit on twitter, definitely in real life. My blog, however, tends to stay nice and safe. Therefore, please excuse this mini-rant.

Last week, I was sent a press release from CBeebies about their new and upcoming programmes, and a few changes to the schedule. I've been meaning to blog it since I had it, but you know how it is, other things happen and suddenly it was the Monday morning when the 'Love to Learn' block started.

At 9 o'clock.

When Show Me, Show Me should have been on.

I'll just give you a moment to allow that to sink in shall I? ….

… sorted? Right, good. See in this household, and I'm pretty sure in hundreds of thousands of others nationwide, Show Me, Show Me is an institution and a matter of routine. CBeebies don't really demarcate the passing of time throughout the day, apart from luncthime and the bedtime hour, so Show Me, Show Me is one of those natural timings for the children. They know it's the start of the day proper.

That's aside from the wonderful educational content of the programme, the old-fashioned or traditional play style, the songs, the acting, the interaction from children, the slight innuendoes planted for parents. I have compared Show Me, Show Me in the past as being like Playschool but for our children's generation. And we all know how that ended when they stopped showing that.

Now, I know that CBeebies have merely reshuffled the schedule to accommodate this new learning block, and not taken Show Me, Show Me off the air for good, but that brings me to my next point.

My son is two years old and he won't start school until September 2013, therefore I do not want him to experience a 'lesson' until then. Even then he won't because of the introduction of the Foundation Phase, which promotes learning through play and experience. I've watched the new 'Love to Learn' block for two days in a row, and it doesn't sit comfortably with me; it feels like forced learning. Someone said to me (earlier on twitter), "Well, turn it off then!" but really that's not the point is it? Of course I can, but surely a television company don't want you to do that? They want you to stay tuned? Keep the schedule as it is, and I won't be.

I don't have a problem with any of the programmes: Numtums seems a little simplistic but that's just me; I'm not a personal fan of The Numberjacks but The Boy loves it; and you can't go wrong with Alphablocks or Abadas as far as I'm concerned. Each of these programmes is good, however combined together into a 35 minute block I think has been a wrong decision. I think they have more effect when they are interspersed with the other programmes; more of a drip-drip gentle learning than 'here are letters and numbers: learn them'.

And yes, I'm a teacher. And yes, my son knows his colours, shapes, recognises single digit numbers and can count to 39 (40 is 30-10 according to him). And yes, he typed his name on the laptop the other day. However,  this has all happened through gradual play activities and learning through play. Not through 'here, you must learn' activities or television programmes.

Now, anyone who knows my blog will know that I adore CBeebies and feel that they never get it wrong.

However, CBeebies, you've got it wrong: put Show Me, Show Me back on at 9 o'clock and lose the 'Love to Learn' block please. It's not helping the channel or our children's education.

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  1. Lauren says

    Couldn't agree more – experiential learning is so much more important than rote. You Boy has a heap of experienced learning at his fingertips ready for when he starts school and can start making sense of it all. Until then, he should just revel in the fun of learning through play.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Thanks for your comment. All the programmes that they have blocked are good, but not en masse like this. And 'Show Me, Show Me' is such an excellent programme for the children.

  2. SAHDandproud says

    Totally agree. And so do others as 80+ retweets of my tweet may testify. These changes. How are they decided? Perhaps a parental focus group would be the key? It seems like they haven't born in mind the shows that are popular and entertaining and educational, and have just gone a bit didactic with this 'Love To Learn' block. Isn't that something we as parent try to encourage all day rather than just at 9 'o clock in the morning and repeated again at 1pm in the afternoon?

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I can't believe that they didn't consult one? The children who this is aimed at are more often that not in nursery or a playgroup and are having that educational input. Younger children should not have it enforced on them, and it will go right over their heads.

      I didn't even mention the issue about Abney and Teal!

  3. says

    I agree with the continuous "number" programmes. It's not necessary and a bit much in one go. Plus they have Cbbc to mess around with learning programmes. Z loves all the song and dance and doesn't much like the factual staff yet but he is one and that's jut how it should be. We might be Mickey Mousing clubhouse a bit more I think 🙁

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I agree, bearing in mind CBeebies is aimed at the younger children this block of learning is just not necessary.

      I can't stand the Disney channels, would hate to have to convert.

  4. Saskia says

    I am just glad I recorded a few "Show me Show me" episodes. Although my time is probably running out and it won't be long before my toddler will cop on to the fact that she hmis watching the same 5 episodes over and over again.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Whereas I didn't. It's only going to be on at 1.45 on the weekends, so will have to sky+ both of them to keep us going.

  5. Gem says

    I definitely agree. This isn't about an aversion to change but about the practicalities of what happens at that particular time in the morning and what parents need from Cbeebies. For me it is a very rushed time on returning from the school run where I enjoy my littlest who is 15 months to be entertained for a few moments whilst I get some stuff done/get ready for the day. If he isn't occupied he will be throwing something out the bin or throwing himself off the bed, neither conducive to me being in a good mood or getting anything done. Show Me Show Me provided something that captured his imagination, he loved the songs, the characters and the appearance of other children, all these kept him joining in, dancing and away from my bin, hurrah!! Now I don't have this, now my bin contents are everywhere and I am cross.
    9am is just before most preschoolers have a nap, they don't really have the energy to absorb something educational off the TV and learn phonics, they want to dance and giggle then zonk out for an hour. Those that do need education are..well…in education and at school by 9am, so I don't think the Love to Learn block is well timed, maybe putting this on around lunch time when they are awake, revived and more open to learning might be more appropriate?
    If they refuse to bring Show Me Show Me back to it's rightful place can they at least just out the "Winter" song on repeat for 20 minutes as this also keeps him entertained and dancing away (and out of my bin!!)

  6. says

    well as you know i LOVE – I mean we LOVE Show Me Show Me in this house too as it also reminds me of Playschool from my childhood too. i haven't even turned the TV on since monday mourning (!!) when i discovered the new format. Show me Show Me is just an all round kind of show which teaches yet entertains and yes i have probably seen them all once or twice now BUT it does not matter because it is all relevant however many times we see it because each time Burton homes in on something different.
    I guess it means that a new series is being made and then we may then get another 12 months of show me show me's at 9am!!

  7. says

    We've missed the 9am change, but I know that as my children have grown up they've always hated the change to the schedule. It can be really disruptive, though they do get used to it. As for this particular segment, I haven't watched it so I'm only commenting on the back of your post, but I agree that drip feeding is much more effective. Plus, my son – who is 4 (but we're Scottish so we don't attend school till you are a minimum of 4.5, and he will be a couple of days shy of 5 when he starts) and would benefit most from such a segment, is at nursery (ok, on his way there because we're always late) so they're missing much of their target audience. It may be worth their while having a rethink.

  8. says

    Rant away, it's a very valid point. Drip feed learning is MUCH better than forced. I agree all those programmes are great individually, but in a whole block? That's just crazy. Wonder if CBeebies are big enough to admit they got it wrong?!

  9. says

    I feel terrible…we have never seen show me show me, and now I feel I may have neglected my children in some way! If the schedule has changed, what time is it now on so I can see what this program is like? x

  10. kath v says

    I agree too, Show Me Show Me is just a brilliant, unfancy, old school kids programme which is entertaining, unannoying, and gets the kids to dance around every day. I love the fact that there are no fancy gimmicks, and its different enough to keep me happy, unlike a lot of the Cbeebies shows.

    Such a disappointment on Monday when it wasnt on, I dont think there was any warning either (it took me a while to twig that Numberjacks was on…..)

    I think Cbeebies should reinstate Show Me Show Me as soon as possible, and keep Numberjacks/ the Alphablocks on for mid-afternoon, after=school time

    We need more Chris and Pui and Teddington

  11. HonieBuk says

    Yes! The Boy's Mother has got it right and Yes! CBeebies have got it wrong. It's Pre Pre-school learning on CBeebies at this time as most Pre-schoolers are at erm Pre-School at 9am.
    You might have noticed over the years CBeebies that for some time the new learning style for foundation years is Learning Through PLAY – and that's because children of this age are only interested in play – 'interested' is the key word there (it's not a parent choice).

    Now when learning though play, teachers and nursery assistants closely take on board what children are learning and any development can be further enhanced with 'more play' just slightly disguised so the structure isn't obvious. Children respond and develop at a progressive and manageable pace and the high flyers – still fly, but the children that would otherwise not gain the skills needed for development and foundation learning – still gain them, because they haven't been put under pressure!

    Coming back to the 9am showing – Show Me show Me is like the CBeebies Flagship, with well known faces and experienced Chris and Poi easing our budding cruisers, crawlers, toddlers & Pre PreSchoolers (and PreSchoolers) into their day.
    That leaves me to CBeebies 2nd failing. Have you any idea how sudden and unexplained change sends young children into tantrums and unsettling mood swings (cheers for that I hear from the Mummy masses).

    My youngest is now in Reception (just 5 yrs) but I'd be alarmed to hear that there were long periods of intense curriculum styled learning in her class… 35 mins is a long time for 5 yr old – it's an eternity to a 2 yr old!!!

    I loved the introduction of Show Me Show Me delivered by 2 long established CBeebies faces and the 'occasional' drop in of short bursts of the 'more intense learning' was manageable and fun ehether or not any of it was understood. In time, it is remembered and it's lovely to hear your child repeat words and sounds that are new to them……

    What next? Blackboard and chalk dusters!!!

    Get it right CBeebies – this is NOT a change for the better!

  12. says

    I must admit we love show me show me in this house. Rosie is not one for watching much TV but we have settled into a lovely routine where we drop Poppy off at School and she sits down in front of show me show me with a 2nd breakfast (she never eats much of the first…maybe too early) and watches whilst I hoover and tidy up the mess we left before the School run. It works for us and I always remember Poppy loving it too. I was therefore quite surprised when it changed and needless to say she no longer sits still and my house stays messier for longer! x

  13. julesey10 says

    Valid points sweetie but C loves the new line up. Lol its the only time of day we really watch more than one programme at any one time and he is a huge fan if all number programmes, spelling, anything like that. He does like show me show me too but he's so engrossed in the other programmes I don't think he's noticed he hasn't see it all week. 🙁 sorry. Xx

  14. Julie says

    Blimey, show me show me and institution?!?! I completely disagree, bring back Tikkabilla!

    I do however agree with your points on too much educational stuff together. Alternating between fun and learning throughout the day was better. Then no matter when you put it on, they got some of each.

    I HATE when the schedules change thought. I remember for ages and ages bedtime was after the Fimbles and then it moved to something like 3pm and confused our household!

  15. Emma says

    Agreed hun. My 4yo would like it but is at nursery at 9am till 2 so misses both…my 1yo adores show me show me and will watch dance freeze and wave all the way. its actually the only programme she watches like this. The rest she dips in and out of as she is 1 and does not have the attention span for long blocks of "learning". For this we use flash cards or books…not cbeebes.


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