Father and daughter listening to music in the park

Introducing the Imagine Neighborhood Podcast

It looks like the world is going into lockdown in the coming weeks, so parents will be seeking new ways to keep our kids occupied. There’s only so much time we can let them be glued to screens, after all.

While podcasts have been go-to forms of entertainment for adults for a while now, they’ve been a slower burn for kids. There are some good ones going around, including But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids and Kinderling Kids Radio’s Week of Sleep series and The Beanies podcast – and now you can add Imagine Neighborhood to the list.

Launching today, Imagine Neighborhood is a 10-episode podcast presented by Committee for Children (cfchildren.org), which has led the charge for 40 years to make a positive impact on children through social-emotional learning. The podcast aims to bring parents and pre-school kids together and help equip children with emotional intelligence ahead of kindergarten.

Each 15-minute episode uses a story to help describe an important Social Emotional Learning (SEL) skill, such as recognising and dealing with angry feelings, with storylines including a birthday party for a royal dino named Princess Donnasaurus and an adventure involving the need to cross a street made of lava. The series is free to download, with no advertisements. Grown-ups can find them on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Stitcher, or anywhere podcasts are found.

The storytelling comes via award-winning actors with a sprinkling of songs that capture the story’s mood, including J. Lo’s “Let’s Get Loud” and Brian Eno’s “Deep Blue Day”.

Robots and dinosaurs can make it easier to talk about the big feelings that happen when you’re growing up.

Episode One’s Count Vacula, debuting today, asks children to ponder being frightened. Does your heart pound? Or does your tummy feel tight? Count Vacula admits he too feels scared sometimes. Kids learn how to talk about the sensations being scared creates and how to deal with feeling afraid (especially when their grown-ups leave for work). The interactive prompts guide mums and dads to kick start these important conversations.

Podcast creator and host Scotty Iseri is a veteran producer and creator of stories. He says as a busy single dad working full-time, he knew he had “meet parents where they were”.

“Parenting can be really challenging, and sometimes it can be helpful to have conversations using the context of a fun story. Robots and dinosaurs can make it easier to talk about the big feelings that happen when you’re growing up.”

At the end of each episode, Scotty asks the listeners “How were you kind today?” This reminder builds kindness in children and adults… couldn’t we all use a reminder to be kind on daily basis?

“The genius in this show is the journey it takes you on,” says executive producer Mia Doces.

“Parents and kids can listen to the stories and enjoy them but that isn’t where it ends. Our early tests show that parents are really finding the show entertaining, and they also appreciate how easy it makes it to talk about challenging topics like their kids’ feelings.”

For more about Imagine Neighborhood, including links to your favourite listening platform, click here.


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