For the past six months or so, we’ve been partnering with production company Three Arrows Media to deliver nearly 50 pieces of video content for the BBC’s Tiny Happy People campaign. It’s been one of Studio 91’s biggest projects to date, and one that will hopefully have a far-reaching legacy.
Tiny Happy People wants to help address problems with language and communication that many UK children have when they start primary school. Using video alongside articles, quizzes and other digital content, the plan is to inspire and encourage parents to chat to their kids more and kick-start their language development.
So we’ve been all over the North West, filming parents and children modelling the sorts of activities and behaviours that experts want to see more of. That’s included a lot of nursery rhymes and made-up songs, as well as other content like activity ideas to occupy children at home. The films are designed to be friendly, informal and non-patronising, similar in tone to the work we’ve produced for BBC Bitesize’s Starting Primary School campaign.
Naturally, directing children is never straightforward, especially when you’re dealing with all ages from newborns to 5-year-olds. We quickly found that the youngest and oldest children in that bracket are the easiest to work with, whereas 2- to 3-year olds never quite want to do what you’re asking of them. So this project required a great deal of patience at the filming stage, and some very careful editing to make sure we were showing the best practice. As well as going through the usual layers of sign-off at the BBC, all the content was scrutinised by a panel of early years education experts.
BBC Tiny Happy People is a huge project, and a major priority for BBC Education, so you can expect to hear a lot more about it in the coming months and years – especially if you’re a parent of young children!