I laughed my ass off at Dadspin’s series, Why Your Children’s Television Program Sucks. Holy shit, that’s some funny stuff. Because, it often DOES suck watching children’s television when you’re not, you know, a child. Or drunk, which, it’s not usually a good idea to be drunk when you’re supervising your kids. A least, not as drunk as one has to be in order to enjoy Caillou. Which is to say, passed out. Because as everyone knows, Caillou is awful.
Then I read my friend Nikki’s blog post about why children’s television is not so bad. And I realized, maybe it was a good idea to write about a few of the shows I watch with the kids without wanting to throw something through the television, and how it is I survive them.
Let’s begin with one of my favorites: Sid the Science Kid. Conflict of Interest Alert: Boeing sponsors the show, and my dad is a Boeing retiree. But I would like the show even if it was sponsored by Airbus.
So, I have mentioned before that I am a lawyer, and when I was in law school, one of my summer jobs was working for a disability rights non-profit. I firmly believe that people with disabilities get shit on a lot in our society, and we should do more to include people with disabilities in our everyday lives to the maximum extent possible.
Have you seen this video? It makes me cry EVERY DAMN TIME I see it. And the reason why is, it’s not too long ago that that kid wouldn’t have been allowed at his neighborhood school, with “regular” kids, and he probably wouldn’t have been encouraged to run laps at whatever “special” school they would have sent him to…if he even did get to go to school. So, seeing him run, and watching his teacher and his classmates cheer him on is powerful. It says a lot about how far we have come in teaching kids to respect each other, no matter their differences.
What does all this have to do with Sid the Science Kid? Well, I am convinced that Sid’s class is an inclusion classroom. I mean, how many schools do you know with one teacher for 4 kids? Gerald appears to have as an accommodation that he gets extra time to get to Rug Time every day–notice how he has to act out a character on his way to sitting down? Mae seems to have some social challenges too–she seems a bit shy, and she is always talking about her cat. Gabriella is obviously the non-disabled peer model. And then there’s Sid, always questioning…I often try to figure out if he’s also a peer model or if he has some unspecified learning disability that brings him to this place.
And, it’s AWESOME how they play together. How they let Gerald try the joke again when he gets it wrong, how they include Mae even if she’s shy. I mean, kudos to the teacher for handling the room so well and letting their curriculum be student-driven, but the real smile-inducer to me is kids being themselves and being together. Call me an idealist, but that’s what we want all our kids to be like, isn’t it? Kind to each other? And happy? And growing and learning?
So, I like watching Sid. And I like my kids to watch Sid and see the kids being kind to one another. Also, Sid doesn’t whine like that fucker Caillou.