ABCmouse, the hugely popular subscription-based children’s education platform, is entering the DEI space.
Corinne Dorsey of The Grio has reported that “the digitally-based academy, intended for young children, is offering a new feature to teach diversity, equity and inclusion.”
In partnership with Age of Learning, an education technology provider, Dorsey said that ABCmouse will be “rolling out a new feature that teaches children as young as two years old ‘cultural humility’ as part of their new diversity, equality and inclusion initiative.
Aimed at children between the ages of 2 to 8, the ABCmouse program will center around a new series of short videos called Everybody’s Garden.
In an interview with The Grio, Dr. Nika Fabienke, senior director of curriculum at Age of Learning and co-chair of the DEI task force, said that she hopes children will learn and absorb the material better when they are introduced to it at an early age.
“[We] want to start early and start in an age-appropriate way,” she said. “That allows for the kids to have multiple and diverse exposures to the information. Hence, it’s like you would teach any other content area.”
According to Dorsey, “the video series will be compiled of short three-to-four-minute shows that introduce the idea of cultural humility to children in a fun and engaging way through a warm story of friendship and self-understanding.”
Characters within the video series include Ivy, an Afro-Cuban girl, and her best friend Niko, a Filipino-American.
“We are putting BIPOC children at the center of this new video series, and then the task force really wanted to lay on the idea of cultural humility,” said Fabienke. “You put those two together, and we’ve gotten these characters that are specific and authentic.”
Like other popular children’s educational series over the years, from Sesame Street to Reading Rainbow to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the ABCmouse programs are meant to entertain while also helping to teach important messages — serving as a win-win for parents who allow their children to view the show.
“The episodes are cultivated to be subtle for kids’ experiences and apply repetition of topics surrounding cultural humility so students can genuinely retain the content,” Dorsey said. “For example, the first episode teaches that you should never assume things about someone just because they are different from you, and that it is OK to ask questions of those who may not look or sound like you.”
In a unique addition to Everybody’s Garden over other children’s series, ABCmouse will also offer a “viewing guide” for parents to help them have important conversations with their kids about the topics they cover, including cultural humility.
Fabienke said she hopes the series will continue to grow and develop in the future, offering even more ways to help teach children the values of diversity, inclusion and representation.
“Right now, the curriculum folks and I are looking at other modalities so that kids can have a multimedia experience, so it’s not only videos,” she said.