You know a show is good when not only do you want your kids to watch it, but you want to watch it too.
It’s not all that often that you’re just such a fan that you have to talk about it. When it does happen, if you get started, you realize you’re more than a fan, you’re a fanatic.
To raise your kids bi-lingual, you have to find them “media” in the language that they enjoy.
There’s a Dutch television program that my kids–and I–can’t get enough of. It’s called Klokhuis.
Our house is completely bi-lingual English and Dutch. Our first language is Dutch, that’s all we speak at home and all we speak together as a family. We speak English only if others are around and the conversation involves them. Otherwise, it’s Dutch. I’m terribly strict–and extremely proud. I’m kind of a language fiend.
We have a TV, but it’s not very connected to much. We have cable, but we don’t turn it on (we have cable so we can have Internet). But most of the Dutch programming is available for the whole world (regardless of IP address, unlike some countries restrictions) streaming. We watch it on the iPad. The shows are maybe 15 minutes long, sometimes 20. The topics might sound a dull, but the work they put into the production of each show is impressive. You’d think it was a monthly program, not daily.
Just in the past few days we had:
- World War II in Holland
- Sea captains from 250 years ago (Michiel de Ruyter)
- How (camping) tents are made
In fact, it doesn’t even matter what the topic is. They do such a good job of storytelling, you’d watch whatever they had. It’s like the author you love–you’ll read whatever she writes–and love it all. You’re a fan.
Where are the excellent, high quality, kids-can’t-wait-until-the-next-episode American programs?
So I have to ask: do we have such quality programming in the US? I suppose I’m not searching for it, but I also don’t hear about it. I’m (heavily) influenced by our Dutch friends here in town (who also are big Klokhuis fans) and I don’t hear mention of good American television for kids.
Bonus: There’s a Dutch site (and app) called Uitzending Gemist (Missed Show) that archives a ridiculous amount of Dutch programs. For Dutch living abroad, it’s a fabulous resource. Is it because some of the Dutch programming is supported (and funded) by the Dutch government? We’re not talking about C-SPAN levels of excitement and passion here, we’re talking about quality productions.
Watch a few minutes. Even if you don’t understand Dutch. It’s worth it to see what we’re missing.