Daniel Tiger's NeighborhoodSpring 2017 Television
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is a CGI-animated program for preschoolers airing on PBS. It's produced by The Fred Rogers Company, a company devoted to educational children's media meant to carry on the legacy of public television icon Fred Rogers.
Little Daniel is the son of Daniel Striped Tiger, the original character from the Neighborhood of Make-Believe in Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, and he pals around with other kids linked to the Fred Rogers series that inspired this one. Each half-hour program features two short episodes with unique storylines populated by an animated cast of characters diverse in ethnicity, gender, and ability.
Like most little kids his age, 4-year-old Daniel must navigate friendships, build responsibility, and make moral choices in tricky situations. The program employs tuneful songs with strategic lyrics to help kids develop these social and emotional skills, and there are short videos between stories featuring live-action kids to reinforce important themes.
Plot conflicts will be familiar to young viewers. For instance, in "Teacher Harriet's New Hairdo," Daniel arrives at school and is confused to find his favorite teacher has a new hairstyle. Later, a friends gives Daniel a new hairstyle and then Daniel imagines a variety of different hairstyles on his beloved stuffed pal Tigey. Each scenario supports the main lesson of the episode and is reinforced by a musical break that assures kids "you're still you no matter what you wear."
In another episode, "Fireflies and Fireworks," an evening picnic turns scary for Daniel's little sister Margaret, who fears the fireflies that come out at twilight. Their mom explains that new things can sometimes be scary and she encourages Daniel to hold his little sister's hand while she gets used to the flickering insects. Later, the noise of a fireworks display frightens Daniel but he feels more comforted and secure when he remembers the tactic of holding someone's hand.
And, in "Daniel's Allergy," a bite of peach pie leads to an allergic reaction followed by a trip to the doctor's office. Little kids with allergies will appreciate the three real-life lessons Daniel learns about living with an allergy: 1.) Don't eat the foods that trigger your allergy. 2.) Tell a grown-up if you don't feel well. And 3.) Ask before you eat something new.
Lots of programs targeting preschoolers offer educational elements but Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood stands out for its sweetness and simple-but-memorable tunes to emphasize its enlightening messages. Parents facing the tough task of steering children towards smart viewing choices will feel good about allowing kids to spend time in this particular neighborhood.